Fellow Female Comedians on Amy Schumer’s Alleged Joke Theft

Here’s an article that talks about a bunch of reactions to Schumer’s accusations and kind of puts a lot of the hype all in one place for you to digest. I also listened to the Joe Rogan Podcast the other day with Hannibal Buress on as a guest. They’re both friends with Amy and think she wouldn’t steal a joke. Rogan thinks there is, however a serious “creativity problem” on the part of someone who is involved with her writing for TV, or else this many issues wouldn’t come up. TV writers are under a lot of stress to come up with new material on the daily. That would explain some things. Just one opinion out there.

John Roy’s Completely Free Stand Up Comedy Course

I’ve heard of this thing a million times from people and never taken a look until now because, well, it slipped to the cracks! But it’s just as awesome as everyone says!

John Roy is a veteran comedian based in LA who has created a whole 12-week, completely free comedy course. Roy mentions in the first week that,

“The majority consensus among fellow comedians are that [comedy courses] are of dubious value. They may help a little with some fundamentals or with building courage and comfort on stage, but they will neither replace the time you will have to spend in Open Mics nor are they worth the hundreds of dollars they normally cost.”

Roy goes about it with this knowledge in mind. There’s no learning stand up without doing stand up. You jump into it right away.

He’s also great at being efficient. His weekly courses and assignments aren’t very long; they put the work on you to go out and write, perform, and watch comedy yourself rather than to learn it from someone else.

In the same vein, I will be succinct. If you want to try comedy and you don’t want to spend money on a “real” course, do this one. It is infinitely better than a “real” course, which are all designed to get money out of your pocket, not to teach you anything. (Trust me, as someone who started out by taking one and interned at a comedy school n college. Almost no one sticks with comedy after trying a course. Even though it feels like you accomplished something, you have not until you go out there and do it full-time.)

Here it is!

It has been added to my Things I Like page, which, by the way, if you’re tryna be a comic, is a great resource.

You can find out more about John Roy on his site.

Carol Burnett On The State Of Comedy TV

Admittedly, my ignorant young self knows nothing about Carol Burnett. But, a comedian friend shared a quote of hers from this Hollywood Reporter interview that I thought was interesting:

“Today the suits say, “It’s got to be fast.” So I think some of the writing isn’t good anymore. Now sitcoms sound like they’ve been written by teenage boys in a locker room.”

I agree. TV writing today is just punchlines in a lot of shows, which to me gets old. That’s not how life works. Some of the best sketch writing builds up to a climax. A lot of great sketches or TV shows are more “thinkers” than laugh out loud funny and the pressure for have every second be funny to compete with people’s short attention span I see as detrimental.

Stand up writing is actually very similar in New York. Here, you gotta have punchline, punchline, punchline or else no one will listen to you. I think there’s a lot of great comedy that isn’t like that, so it’s nice to see someone else saying, “Slow down!”

I actually don’t think anything else in the interview is that interesting, but please do read it if that tickles your fancy. And then you’ll know just about as much about Carol Burnett as I do.

Apparently This Is What Going To Too Many Open Mics Does To You

“It was really unclear at first what was even happening. Because, you know, it is an open mic and it’s a performance,” the shop’s co-owner Rhonda Ealy told local television station KTVZ. “People at first thought it was some sort of theatre.”

Teenager stabs himself to death onstage at open mic night in front of shocked crowd at coffee shop

Sean Patton Is Great

This past Monday I went to Whiplash at UCB in Chelsea for the first time. It was an amazing show and all the comics killed. Sean Patton headlined the show, and I’m not sure that I’ve seen him perform before. He’s a totally different act than what I’m used to seeing and it was pretty refreshing. And Patton especially murdered.

Anyways, I’ve been sharing a lot of articles and such lately so I figured it was time to get some more videos going. Here’s a fun one.

 

Nick Vatterott’s Letter to UCB

Nick Vatterott is a big name in comedy. He’s a working comic who has been around New York City for a while now, working some of its best clubs. I think the consensus is that he hasn’t had his “breakout” moment yet on TV, but he has a huge cult following because he’s awesome. (see more of him on his website)

Yesterday, in frustration with the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, he typed out this long Facebook post, which has accumulated upwards of 800 likes and 80 shares in 17 hours. His frustrations with the theater have garnered a lot of support from the stand up community. Everybody seems to be sharing or posting about it today!

If you want the tl;dr on this, Vatterott is upset with how UCB treats stand up comics compared to improvisers. On top of that, he implies that UCB doesn’t even treat improvisers very well – they’re being taken advantage of too. UCB doesn’t pay performers for paid shows and they seem to have done some mean things to Vatterott and other stand ups. To add some context, UCB is essentially THE place for improv and sketch in New York and they’ve expanded to four locations: two in NYC and two in LA. Essentially, if you want to do improv, you kind of have to go through them. But they have comedy shows with all different acts, including stand up. And Vatterott feels like they treat stand ups as outsiders because of that.

I can’t speak to any of this from experience (not being a paid comic) but Vatterott’s words seem to be resonating with other comedians. I was just at UCB in Chelsea earlier this week to see Whiplash, which is one of the best free shows in the city. UCB makes that sort of thing possible, which is great. But, at least from Vatterott’s frustrated comments, it seems like they might not always go about things the right way.

Continue reading “Nick Vatterott’s Letter to UCB”

Why Do So Many Pretty Female Comedians Pretend They’re Ugly

This is an Atlantic piece from 2012, which, as you might know, was about four years ago. It’s interesting to see how this piece has a lot of relevance today and might have even garnered more attention today. In fact, it reminds me of another very similar Atlantic piece, Plight of the Funny Female, which came out this fall and I think even comments on some of the same research. I wrote an article about that one, which you can find here.

I think this one is subtly different, but it’s equally as interesting. Throughout the history of comedy, women have been putting themselves down in various ways. Physically making themselves appear less pretty is just one of them. One thing I will point out, that I don’t think the article addressed is that, pretty obviously, men comics put themselves down too. So many times I’ve heard a female comic get up on stage and say, “Wow there are a lot of good-looking guys here!” (referring to other comics) and then a guy will get up and say something like, “I look like a rapist! Haaaa! I’m gross!”

My point isn’t to de-emphasize how women comics have unfortunately had to put themselves down over the years in an attempt to seem funnier. It’s just to show that self-deprecation is a common tool in comedy that women have used to break their way into a formerly male-dominated profession. If people don’t identify with you, you can always make fun of yourself. It’s fascinating how easily people will get on board when you’re pointing your finger at yourself and going, “Look at me, I’m an idiot!” Sometimes it’s even a little unnerving.