Category: Comedy

Late Night: Jesus never said anything about gays, Colbert says

 

 

 

When it comes to the issue of same-sex marriage, this week has certainly been historic. On "The Colbert Report" on Thursday night, Stephen Colbert still wasn't able to come to grips with the news. "I don't know about you, but I am still reeling from President Obama's announcement that he is gay," he joked. "“I have to assume that’s the reason he supports gay marriage."

Kidding aside, Colbert took the opportunity to debunk the claim, propagated by many Christian conservatives, that Jesus condemned homosexual relationships. He played footage of Dallas megachurch pastor Robert Jeffress -- the guy who thinks Mormonism is a cult -- suggesting that Obama "has really contradicted the Jesus he says he followed."

Colbert decided to go directly to the source. "I would like to read to you what the Jesus said about homosexuality," he declared, breaking out his trusty Bible. "I would like to,  but he never said anything about it. Evidently Jesus was so filled with rage that he was speechless."

But just because Jesus never publicly denounced homosexuality doesn't mean he personally approved of it, Colbert reasoned.  "I am confident he condemned it all the time in private, when he was hanging out with those other 12 dudes at their elaborate dinner parties, where they all sat on the same side of the table, just living the bachelor life together, drinking wine and working on their washboard abs," he said.

As a practicing Catholic and Sunday school teacher, Colbert presumably knows a thing or two about Jesus. But could his stance on gay marriage -- and his winking suggestion that Jesus and his disciples were a bunch of "confirmed bachelors" -- draw the ire of fellow Catholics? We shall see.

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The day Larry David quit his job and other comic tales

Larryanddavid

Before Larry David was Larry David, the man now thought of as one of the funniest people alive was working for a comedy show that didn’t find him particularly funny. It was the mid-1980s, he was a writer on “Saturday Night Live,” and his sketches were not getting on the air.

After discovering that yet another bit would not be making the cut -- hard as this may be to believe -- the creator and star of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" became enraged. He marched up to the big boss, then Dick Ebersol, who had co-created and developed the show, and lived the dream that truly unites workers around the world: He quit.

Minutes later, walking home on the freezing streets of New York City, David quickly realized the dream of quitting was much better than the reality. There were bills to pay.

So, he set out to convince his now ex-bosses that they were still his bosses -- that it was all a dream -- by showing up to work the next day. It worked.

“I thought it was worth a shot,” said David in his Santa Monica office, recounting the tale that inspired a future “Seinfeld” episode. “What’s the worst that could happen?”

Read more about what else Larry David had to say about comedy with his longtime friend David Steinberg, whose new 10-part series on Showtime "Inside Comedy" begins Thursday.

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Photo: Larry David and David Steinberg. Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

Romney, Perry say no to Sunday talk shows, yes to late night

Jon Huntsman's rocking performance on "The Late Show" on Wednesday night was the latest example of a growing trend in American politics. In the not-so-distant past, visits to Sunday morning political talk shows such as "Meet the Press," "Face the Nation" and "This Week" were all but mandatory for presidential candidates. 

But in this election cycle, the once-mighty Sunday talk show seems less influential than in the past. Two of the current Republican hopefuls -- Mitt Romney and Rick Perry -- have avoided “Meet the Press,” “Face the Nation” and “This Week" altogether. In contrast, nearly every candidate has made an appearance on one or more late-night talk shows.

Rather than submitting themselves to tough interrogation at the hands of NBC's David Gregory or CBS' Bob Schieffer, the Republican candidates — and even President Obama — have consistently opted for other, arguably more frivolous venues, such as "The View" and "Jimmy Kimmel Live." 

Some experts argue that, by appearing on entertainment programs, the candidates are getting free publicity without having to engage in a substantive discussion of the issues. By contrast, the Sunday talk shows are rife with potential for "gotcha" moments. Still others suggest that, in the current media landscape, the line between comedian and journalist is virtually indistinguishable.

Do you think the candidates are taking the easy way out by appearing on late-night shows? Read more about this issue in today's feature story by Scott Collins and consider the evidence below.

Herman Cain denying charges of sexual harrassment on "Jimmy Kimmel Live":

 

Rick Perry delivering the Top 10 List on "The Late Show" after his debate gaffe:

 

... Mitt Romney doing the same earlier this week:

 

Rep. Ron Paul on "The Tonight Show":

 

Michele Bachmann during her controversial appearance on "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon":

 

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'Funny or Die's Billy on the Street' debuts on FuseTV

Funny or Die's Bill on the Street debuts on FuseTV
Comedian Billy Eichner, the website "Funny or Die" and FuseTV are teaming up to test your pop culture savvy in "Funny or Die's Billy on the Street." OK, think fast:

On “Glee,” which requires the greatest suspension of disbelief?

A) That the Glee Club has a full-time adult band;
B) That McKinley High classrooms are equipped with AutoTune, while most high schools in this country are low on chairs;
C) That neither Jane Lynch nor Matthew Morrison’s characters aren't regularly sleeping with their students;
D) That the guy with the faux-hawk would be friends with any of these people.

Choose your answer carefully -– there could be money at stake!

On Thursday night, the music-centric FuseTV will debut a new music and pop culture trivia game show: “Funny Or Die’s Billy on the Street.” In the half-hour series, Eichner roams New York sidewalks accosting pedestrians with outrageous trivia questions and passing out cold cash for correct answers. It’s a fast-paced, high-energy quiz show that’s as much about the contestants as it is about celebrities, Eichner says.

“Pop culture is just a jumping off point. It’s about how opinionated people are about pop culture. Even old ladies will come at me with these specific, thoughtful opinions about Lady Gaga!” he says. “And it’s about this insane amount of passion and urgency I bring to these topics.” 

The die-hard New Yorker, who grew up in Forest Hills, Queens, says he was completely addicted to pop culture as a kid.

“My father would read me Page Six instead of, like, kids stories,” Eichner says. “Solid Gold' and 'Saturday Night Live.' I was obsessed with award shows and made charts and graphs and stuff when I was 7 years old. I found the entertainment business hilarious, ridiculous and alluring -- and my parents supported it, for better or worse.”

Eichner, a regular performer at New York’s Upright Citizen’s Brigade theater, has been honing the show’s concept -- and his frenzied, manic alter-ego -- ever since. He first created the pop culture video shorts in 2004 as part of a live comedy show, “Creation Nation,” that played in the East Village, he says.  

“I’d throw in a video here and there. The man on the street [bits] always got a huge reaction and became a big part of the show.” 

After Eichner uploaded several of the videos to YouTube in 2010, they went viral, he says.  

“They got picked up by Gawker, Huffington Post, Funny Or Die, a bunch of websites. Hundreds of thousands of views online. Soon after I got a call from “Funny Or Die.”

“Billy on the Street” is Funny Or Die’s third non-web TV show after “Funny Or Die Presents” on HBO and Comedy Central’s “Jon Benjamin Has a Van.” The show airs Thursday at 11 p.m. on FuseTV.

Oh, and the answer is: D.

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Twitter.com/@debvankin

Photo: Comedian Billy Eichner interviews passersby on the new show "Funny or Die's Billy on the Street." Credit: John Durgee / Fuse

Jimmy Fallon to release comedy album with 'Late Night' songs

Jimmy Fallon to record second comedy album, guest host  American Top 40 and 'Saturday Night Live'Jimmy Fallon is getting back behind the mike to record his second comedy album.

The "Late Night" host has inked a deal with the Nashville-based Warner Music Records; the album is to be released next summer.

"Having a new album coming out soon on Warner Bros. means so much to me," Fallon said in a statement. "Mostly, it means I should probably start writing some songs."

The "Saturday Night Live" alum has had success performing catchy parodies and getting his late-night guests — Justin Timberlake, Mick Jagger, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Springsteen among them — to sing duets with him and show off their musical stylings. Recently on "Late Night," Fallon performed the theme from "Reading Rainbow" as Jim Morrison.

His upcoming album "will include music, parodies and other impresario compositions that became instant classics after performances by Jimmy and his guests on the 'Late Night' show," according to a statement from Warner. It will also feature never before released material from NBC's "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon."

The music label boasts other comedians including Bob Hope, Steve Martin, Jeff Foxworthy, Larry the Cable Guy, Katt Williams and Lisa Lampanelli.

Fallon's first album, "The Bathroom Wall" (2002) earned him a Grammy nod in the spoken comedy album category.

The increasingly busy comedian will also be filling in for Ryan Seacrest on the radio broadcast of "American Top 40" this weekend. Then, he'll be returning to "Saturday Night Live" on Dec. 17 to host for the first time.  

Guess he'll have to be writing those songs while he's on the road.

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Photo: Jimmy Fallon at his office at NBC Studios in Manhattan. Credit: Jennifer S. Altman / For The Times

Art Clokey, creator of Gumby and Pokey, earns Google Doodle

Art Clokey is celebrated in a Google Doodle
Art Clokey, creator of Gumby, is celebrated in a Google Doodle today on what would have been the stop-motion clay-animation pioneer's 90th birthday.  

Clokey and wife Ruth created Gumby in the 1950s. The green guy with the distinctive slant to his head and his faithful pony pal, Pokey, became TV stars and even reached the big screen.

Gumby bowed on "The Howdy Doody Show," went on to have his own show in the 1950s and then, as Clokey's L.A. Times obituary notes, staged successive comebacks in the decades that followed. In the 1960s, he found popularity as a bendable children's toy. In the 1980s, Eddie Murphy parodied Gumby as a crass, cigar-smoking character on "Saturday Night Live," and the '90s brought "Gumby the Movie."

Gallery: Google's birthday doodles

After Clokey died on Jan. 8, 2010, friend and animator David Scheve said that few knew Clokey's name "but everybody knows Gumby. To have your life's work touch so many people around the world is an amazing thing."

Clokey's early life was marked by tragedy. The boy who grew up making mud figures on his grandparents' farm in Michigan lost his father in a car accident when he was 8. After moving to California, he was abandoned by his mother and her new husband and lived in a halfway house near Hollywood until he was 11 and adopted by renowned music teacher and composer Joseph W. Clokey. 

Eventually, the adult Clokey turned to filmmaking, a passion of his, and studied at USC. There, he created the 1953 experimental film "Gumbasia" with stop-motion clay animation. Then-20th Century Fox President Sam Engel saw the film and asked Clokey to produce a children's television show based on the idea. The rest is Gumby history.

An interesting piece of trivia: The unusual shape of the Gumby's head was modeled after one of the few surviving photos of Clokey's father, which shows him with a large wave of hair protruding from the right side of his head.

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Photo: Art Clokey in 2009. Credit: D. Ross Cameron / Associated Press

Emmys 2011: 'Modern Family' wins for comedy series

Modern Family 
ABC's "Modern Family" won its second consecutive Emmy for comedy series on Sunday. The series about a lovably dysfunctional family earned 17 nominations in its second season, including for directing and for cast members Ty Burrell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Ed O'Neill, Eric Stonestreet, Julie Bowen and Sofia Vergara.

The 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards were handed out at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles and televised live on Fox TV.

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Photo: "Modern Family" cast. Photo credit: Danny Feld/ABC.

Emmys 2011: Melissa McCarthy wins lead comedy actress

Melissa McCarthy 
Melissa McCarthy won her first Emmy for lead actress in a comedy series on Sunday for her role as Molly Flynn on the CBS hit "Mike & Molly." McCarthy, 41, played the role of Sookie St. James on the WB series "Gilmore Girls" from 2001-07 and Deana on the 2007-09 ABC comedy "Samatha Who?"

She won many more fans earlier this year as the outrageous, man-crazy Megan in the box-office smash "Bridesmaids," earning a Teen Choice Award nomination for best Scene Stealer Female.

The 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards are being handed out at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, and the show is being televised live on Fox TV. 

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Photo: Melissa McCarthy at the Emmy Awards on Sunday night. Credit: Chris Pizzello / AP

Emmys 2011: Jim Parsons wins lead comedy actor

Jim Parsons in The Big Bang Theory
Jim Parsons won his second consecutive Emmy for lead actor in a comedy on Sunday for his performance as the brilliant, infuriating physicist Sheldon Cooper on the hit CBS sitcom "The Big Bang Theory."

The 38-year-old Parsons, who also played Cooper on an installment of Fox's animated series "The Family Guy," has also appeared on such series as "Judging Amy" and "Ed." Parsons has said that he had auditioned for 15 to 20 pilots before "Big Bang." He won the Golden Globe in January for the role. This spring, he appeared on Broadway in the Tony Award-winning revival of "The Normal Heart."

His "Big Bang" costar Johnny Galecki was also nominated this year for lead actor in a comedy.

The 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards are being handed out at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, and the show is being televised live on Fox TV. 

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Photo: Jim Parsons in "The Big Bang Theory." Credit: Rober Voets/CBS

Jerry Lewis' ouster prompts outcry among comics at Laugh Factory

 

Paul Rodriguez for Jerry Lewis
A dozen or so angry comedians gathered on the stage at the Laugh Factory comedy club in Hollywood for a news conference Friday afternoon in defense of Jerry Lewis.

The 85-year-old Lewis was abruptly, if a bit mysteriously, dismissed Wednesday night as the host and national chairman of the Muscular Dystrophy Assn.’s annual Labor Day Telethon -- an event he helped shape, and was the face of, for nearly 60 years.

Laugh Factory owner Jamie Masada said he was "disgusted."

"He’s done so much for the telethon, and he raised over $2 1/2 billion for the telethon, and what they did to him is a shame," Masada said. "I can’t describe how hurt I am, how hurt every comedian is."

Masada said the purpose of the news conference was to rally public support to protest the MDA. "What we’re trying to do is see if we can get Jerry Lewis back on the telethon again."

Among those in attendance were Paul Rodriguez, Larry Miller, Tom Dreesen, French comedian Mustapha El Atrassi and 83-year-old Norm Crosby, who co-hosted the telethon with Lewis for more than 25 years.

Rodriguez said many of his fellow comedians had called and emailed from the road Friday to offer support, including Dave Chappelle and Kevin Pollak.
 
Norm Crosby for Jerry Lewis
Crosby called the MDA’s actions "abrupt" and "cruel."

"If it was time for him to leave, that’s debatable. If he was cranky and nasty and difficult, that’s possible too," Crosby said."But it was all because of the passion he had for these kids and the money they raised and for the telethon. Certainly there could’ve been a much more pleasant, easier way for him to go."

Jim Brown, the MDA's vice president of public relations, said the organization declined to comment about Friday's news conference.

"We live with rejection. We know what rejection’s about. It’s part of our life," said comedian Tom Dreesen, who's appeared on the telethon more than 20 times. "But if you … were a major star and hosted a telethon that raised $2.5 billion, you at least deserve to go out in a gracious way."
 
The event was not without some bitter-laced humor. "We’re gonna host our own telethon," Rodriguez said. "We’re trying to find a cure for disrespect and ingratitude."

The Laugh Factory is planning a fundraiser this Labor Day weekend from which all proceeds will be donated to research for muscular dystrophy.

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-- Deborah Vankin
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Top photo: Paul Rodriguez takes the podium with Tom Dreesen, center, and Jamie Masada.

Bottom photo: Norm Crosby speaks out in Jerry Lewis' defense.

Credit: Deborah Vankin

 

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