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Entries in comedy (6)

Wednesday
Jul112012

Thoughts on Episode 3 

 

Where to begin when talking about Episode 3 “The Kid is Not My Son.” I originally thought of the concept for this episode because I was always astonished with the pot dealers I knew who were always regaling me with stories of the high level people they sold to in New York. Local politicians, celebrities, District Attorneys, Wall Street execs, CEO’s, professors, you name it. So I thought it would be fun if Neptune ended up selling ganja to a high level guy who works for the NSA.

Overall in this episode we see Neptune begin his ascension as the weed dealer du jour of NYC. He starts raking in the cash and the ladies, and things become complicated quickly. I have no idea how I came up with Neptune hooking up with an older black lady, but it makes me laugh just thinking about it, so that’s what I wrote. The image of them lying together on the couch post coitus is one of my favorite parts of the episode.

We shot a ton of this episode in the East Village and Lower East Side of Manhattan. A highlight for me was when we shot the montage of Neptune selling weed on the LES. We tried to cover as many streets as possible, Orchard, Ludlow, Houston, Grand, etc...And of course we had to include a beautiful shot of the omnipresent Lower East side artist's Marco’s work.

Another major component of episode 3 is the music. The Hot Club of San Francisco is all over this episode, and I think really makes the episode cohesive. The Hot Club is such a tight and hard swinging band, their tunes are addicting. We’ve also got a ridiculously smokin song called Everybody’s Talkin’ ‘bout Miss Thing, from Lavay Smith and Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers. The Hot Club and Lavay and her crew are based in the Bay Area but tour frequently around the US. So get your lazy ass off the couch, and check them out when they are in your town.

Reflecting upon this episode I think my favorite anecdote from those days of shooting, was for the intro. In the intro Neptune (Ashley Springer) calls the cop Julie, and realizes he has called a police station. His friend Chris (Trevour Zhou), tries to get him off the phone by hitting Neptune in the cahones. And then visa versa. So we all show up on set for the ball punching scene, and I assume that Ashley and Trevor will just kind of fake hit each other as no one really wants to get their balls punched. But method actor Trevor shows up with two nut protecting hockey cups. And handed one to Ashley, and was like “dude, we gotta make this believable, we really got to get each each other hard in the nuts if it’s gonna be funny.” So they put their cups on to my astonishment, and for the next couple hours, wailed away on each others nut sacks. It was brutally hilarious. And a wonderful intro for episode 3.

Enjoy!

Monday
Jun112012

A Lazy Man’s Tony recap

The 2012 Tony’s happened last night, in case it wasn’t on your calendar. I’ll bypass the usual groaning about how awards shows suck, and how long they are. Heard it a thousand times. Yes, they suck and yes, ratings for the show were horrible. It is what it is. Get over it.

This year’s Tony’s were not too painful. Hosted By Neil Patrick Harris for the 3rd time, the show overall seemed to somewhat keep up the pace.

The opening number “Hello” sung by the book of Mormon cast was one of the strongest tunes of the night. This is a Trey Parker and Matt Stone song if I’ve ever hear it...Check out an earlier south park holiday song they did back in the day. You hear the same sort of rounds, and melody counterpoints, and opposing and they joining melody lines. Brilliant stuff.

NPH was adorable as usual and kept the show light and fun, even if some of the jokes were pretty cheesy. Musicals can be kind of cheesy , so it makes sense. On a side note, although I do like the ladies, I would indeed probably hook up with NPH after I’ve had a couple cocktails. But I digress.

“What if Life Were More Like Theatre” was an appropriate opener for the show. But I felt like with that song, and also the writing in general things could have been punched up or a bit edgier. It all felt very Disney to me. Although I did enjoy “Seize the Day” performed by the cast of Disney’s Newsies.

Well I am gonna say it for the record, I am not the foremost authority on theatre. So I am just going to list all of the winners from last night with no added commentary or blather:

    Winners from the 2012 American Theatre Wing’s Tony Awards, announced    Sunday.
   
           Musical: “Once.”
   
           Play: “Clybourne Park.”
    Revival of a Play: “Death of a Salesman.”
    Revival of a Musical: “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess.”
    Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play: James Corden, “One Man, Two Guvnors.”
    Performance by an Actress in Leading Role in a Play: Nina Arianda, “Venus in Fur.”
    Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical: Steve Kazee, “Once.”
    Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical: Audra McDonald, “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess.”
    Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play: Christian Borle, “Peter and the Starcatcher.”
    Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play: Judith Light, “Other Desert Cities.”
    Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical: Michael McGrath, “Nice Work If You Can Get It.”
    Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical: Judy Kaye, “Nice Work If You Can Get It.”
    Book of a Musical: Enda Walsh, “Once”
    Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre: “Newsies.”
    Direction of Play: Mike Nichols, “Death of a Salesman.”
    Direction of a Musical: John Tiffany, “Once.”
    Choreography: Christopher Gattelli, “Newsies.”
    Orchestration: Martin Lowe, “Once.”
    Sound Design of a Play: Darron L. West, “Peter and the Starcatcher.”
    Sound Design of a Musical: Clive Goodwin, “Once.”
    Costume Design of a Play: Paloma Young, “Peter and the Starcatcher.”
    Costume Design of a Musical: Gregg Barnes, “Follies.”
    Scenic Design Play: Donyale Werle, “Peter and the Starcatcher”
    Scenic Design of a Musical: Bob Crowley, “Once.”
    Lighting Design of a Play: Jeff Croiter, “Peter and the Starcatcher.”
    Lighting Design of a Musical: Natasha Katz, “Once”

Thursday
Jun072012

All about Episode 2 - “The Dinner Party”

There are several once-in-a-lifetime events culminating this week. We saw Venus eclipse the sun, which was pretty boring. In other , more globally relevant news, we have finally released episode 2 of Sex Drugs and Jazz, entitled “The Dinner Party”.

As you might remember if you were sober at the end of the Pilot episode, Neptune (Ashley Springer) gets arrested by the NYPD for selling ganja on St Marks street in New York. Episode two opens with Neptune trying to figure out how to get customers for his new weed start up business. Our Jazz musician protagonist is obviously not the sharpest business person, but with the help of his best friend Chris Wang (Trevor Zhou), a plan is hatched to throw a fancy dinner party to entice new high end customers to sell pot to.

Getting ready for the dinner party is a shit show, and the party itself is filled with complications from start to finish. At the dinner party we meet Steve and Ricardo, two flamboyant broadway theatre directors; We meet Metta, the intimidating billionaire oil man, and Eliza the horny cougar who is always has her hands on Neptune’s joint.

I really love this episode so very much, and I love dinner parties. They are one of the best social activities we get to do in our short little lives. Good people, good food, good wine, and I’m in heaven. For episode 2 I thought it would be fun to have all these characters who Neptune would be selling weed to, to gather at Neptune’s house to see him in his own environment as a cook and host. Which - surprise surprise - he’s not very good at.  

The music from Episode 2 features more kick ass tunes from the brilliant Hot Club of San Francisco - the songs Lover’s Leap, Jonesin’, and Yerba Buena bounce from the HCSF. The great funk tune for the massive bong smoking scene is “Camouflage” by Hokum Factory out of NYC.

Will Neptune pull it off, and get enough people to buy pot to start his business? Watch the effen 2nd episode now and find out you lazy slacker.

 

Monday
May212012

We Will Miss You Dearly Kristen!

 

Well we all witnessed the last SNL episode with Kristen Wiig as a feature cast member. They’re losing an unbelievable comedienne with comedy chops for days. She’s one of those performers who just always had that funny spark. First watching her perform was comparable to the first skits I saw with Chris Farley and Will Ferrell - that rare magical moment in comedy where you knew this person was going places.

As with Ferrell and Farley, Wiig was so fucking funny no matter what the size of the roll. One litmus test of comedy brilliance is when someone who only has a line or two, or not even a line maybe just in the background and you can’t take your eyes off them. Wiig did this is countless skits. I always had my eyes on her to bring the funny.

She had some amazingly funny and ridiculous characters at SNL, The “Babe” as one of the two a-holes, the “target lady”, creepy Lawrence Welk performer “Junice Merill,” movie reviewer “Aunt Linda,” “Shana” the sexy and gross siren, “Penelope” the one upper, “Judy Grimes,” the travel writer, and the weirdly lovable “Gilly.” I could go on and one with the great stuff she has done. But I am sure we all have our own favorites.

I will definitely miss her on Saturday nights. But she is one to bigger and better things and we wish her the best. I am sure a new shining star will rise from SNL again. My money so far is on Jay Pharoah, who is probably one of the best impressionists on there since Dana Carvey. He Just needs to find his voice as an sketch actor and performer and he’ll be unstoppable in the next couple years.

I can’t embed from Hulu as NBC and SNL are very protective of their little comedy show. But here is a link to the brilliant Two a-holes.

 

http://www.hulu.com/watch/19272/saturday-night-live-two-a-holes-buying-a-christmas-tree

Thursday
May102012

A Good Ol’ Turf War: Oakland vs. SF

Fast Company has just come out with a pretty cool article touting Oakland as an up and coming place to do business. SFist had a lovely and perfectly snarky response.

As a Bay Area born and raised lad, and a lover of comedy, I can’t tell you how much the SF versus Oakland shit talk battle delights. It’s a time honored tradition here in the Bay Area to talk shit about cities and neighborhoods, and the Oakland vs SF fued has been going strong since I can remember - and I feel extremely comfortable making fun of both sides. I was born in SF, grew up down on the peninsula in a beach town called Pacifica, then to the East Bay, then back to San Fran.  I’ve got ghetto love for all of the Bay.

But Oakland vs SF is comedy gold. It’s like New York and New Jersey. You can make a thousand Jersey jokes, and they don’t get old. Jersey-raised Jon Stewart makes some of the harshest and funny jersey jokes I have ever heard. If you’re in LA, it’s kind of like the LA verses “the valley”. Valley jokes just don’t get old.

One of the funniest Oakland jokes recently came when I was walking down the street with the fam. A homeless friend of mine, eyes lit up when he saw me. “Hey brotha!” he yelled. “Guess what?” “what!?” I said, riveted. he pulled out a set of keys from his torn jean pockets. “I got a house!” I smiled. “Awesome!” I think I said. But his face suddenly  wilted. “Yea, but it’s in Oakland,” he said disdainfully.  

Honestly Oakland is an amazing, dangerous yet thriving and misunderstood city. It is true at the moment there are a few more restaurants and bars and hispters and I would love nothing more than for Oakland to become Brooklyn. But until then. Let the jokes fly.

As a good friend poignantly said the other day, “Oakland will always be up and coming.”
This hilarious video from the SF based Sketch Comedy troupe Killing My Lobster will give you a sweet taste of what Oaktown is all about. Oakland!