comedy

The Colin McEnroe Show
11:44 am
Mon July 28, 2014

The Scramble: How to Be a Guest on a Talk Show with David Rees

David Rees in "Going Deep with David Rees," on the National Geographic Channel
Credit National Geographic Channel

This hour's Scramble starts fun and gradually grows darker. We begin with David Rees, host of a television show in which he layers expertise onto simple acts like opening a door or making ice cubes. Its motto is "de-familiarizing the ubiquitous so as to increase our appreciation and wonder thereby." We can get behind that.

Read more
Performing Arts
11:40 am
Sun July 20, 2014

At Monty Python Reunion Show, The Circus Makes One Last Flight

Michael Palin, left, and Terry Gilliam perform on the opening night of Monty Python Live (Mostly). The final performance of the reunion show, on Sunday, will be live-streamed at theaters around the world.
Dave J Hogan Getty Images

Originally published on Sun July 20, 2014 12:08 pm

Read more
Code Switch
11:11 am
Fri June 27, 2014

The Elusive Dave Chappelle Re-Emerges, But For How Long?

Chappelle alluded to his decision to walk away from his hit Comedy Central show only obliquely.
Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat June 28, 2014 10:50 am

Just before Dave Chappelle took the stage Monday as part of a sold-out series of shows at Radio City Music Hall, a song featuring a loop of LL Cool J's famous opening line from "Mama Said Knock You Out" blasted over the sound system.

Don't call it a comeback!

You could take it as a suggestion that Chappelle had never really gone anywhere. Or you could read it as a coy reminder that none of us should get too comfortable, because Chappelle might bounce again at any moment.

Read more
Theater
2:26 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Hartford Stage Closes 50th Anniversary Season with 2013 Tony Award Winner

The cast of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. (from l. to r.) David Gregory (Spike), Andrea Lynn Green (Nina), Mark Nelson (Vanya), Leslie Hendrix (Masha) and Caryn West (Sonia).
T. Charles Erickson Hartford Stage

You might say Hartford Stage has Tony fever. Not only did the musical "A Gentlemen's Guide To Love and Murder," which was developed and produced by Hartford Stage, win big at last Sunday's Tony Awards, but also the 2013 Tony winner for best play is currently running at the theater. 

Read more
The Colin McEnroe Show
11:25 am
Tue June 10, 2014

Oh, Canada! How'd You Get So Funny?

Credit Muhammad Ali / Flickr Creative Commons

David Steinberg, Martin Short, Mort Sahl, Rick Moranis, Lorne Michaels, Jim Carrey, John Candy, Kids in the Hall, Samantha Bee, Jason Jones, Howie Mandel, Rich Little, Norm Macdonald, Katherine O'Hara, Russell Peters, Leslie Nielsen - They are all Canadians.

Read more
Who you gonna call?
3:41 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

The Connecticut Ghostbusters Inspect WNPR

Connecticut Ghostbusters represent.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Before Wednesday's Colin McEnroe Show on Comic Con culture, we invited our guests, the Connecticut Ghostbusters John Kantor and Eric Gunther, to take a tour of the 6th floor offices at Connecticut Public Broadcasting.

Read more
Television
3:19 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

Louis C.K. On His 'Louie' Hiatus: 'I Wanted The Show To Feel New Again'

In Louie, Louis C.K. plays a comic who finds comedy in uncomfortable, touchy topics.
K.C. Bailey FX

Originally published on Mon May 19, 2014 2:59 pm

Louis C.K. is now commonly acknowledged as one of the greatest comics of his generation. His celebrated FX series, Louie, started its fourth season a couple weeks ago, after a 19-month hiatus.

Louis C.K. created, writes, directs and stars in the series as a standup comic named Louie, who, like Louis C.K., is the divorced father of two young girls and shares custody with their mother. Last year, Louis C.K. also had prominent roles in two films: Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine and David O. Russell's American Hustle.

Read more
Code Switch
10:43 am
Sat May 10, 2014

Breaking Things Up: 'Senior Black Correspondent' Gets Colbert Slot

Larry Wilmore accepts the best talk show award for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart at the Critics' Choice Television Awards in June 2013.
Frank Micelotta Invision/AP

Originally published on Sat May 10, 2014 10:43 pm

It's not often the gods of TV hand you almost exactly what you ask for.

So it's time to praise Comedy Central for trying something different in late night, handing Stephen Colbert's time slot to the guy who plays The Daily Show's "senior black correspondent," Larry Wilmore.

Read more
Political Humor
2:45 am
Sun May 4, 2014

Obama Cracks Wise At White House Correspondents Dinner

Obama has two ferns brought to the podium as a spoof of his appearance on "Between Two Ferns" for his standup at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Wed May 14, 2014 8:14 pm

President Obama made fun of himself at the White House Correspondents Association dinner on Saturday, the annual nerd-ball schmooze fest where Washington's media stars get comfy with a mix of political bigwigs and Hollywood beautiful people to celebrate a year of journalism.

Obama, known for his comic timing and delivery, didn't disappoint.

Read more
Nerd
9:48 am
Fri May 2, 2014

"Wits" Host John Moe Answers Lightning Round Questions

Wits 'Lightning Round' with Robyn Hitchcock, Paula Poundstone, and host John Moe (left to right).
Credit Wits APM / YouTube screenshot

At the end of every episode of Wits, host John Moe puts his guests through a lightning round of questions. The relevance of Moe's questions is not important. One of my favorite questions was about the prettiest state in terms of geographic outline.

Read more
Sound effects
4:12 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Songwriting With Colin: "Truckin' Bees"

Chion Wolf's Gibson Hummingbird.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

It's not too often I get to write a song with Colin, but I love when it happens. We had about two hours until showtime when Colin dropped off the lyrics to the song we wanted to use as an intro to our show about bees -- specifically about how bees are trucked to different locations throughout the country. I could hear the tune in my head right away.

Read more
Sound Effects
10:15 am
Mon April 28, 2014

Creating the Sounds of a Wedding Reception

The multitrack for the intro about being a wedding guest at a reception.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Having Colin McEnroe write the introduction for every day's show is always a surprise. I never know what kind of sound effects I'll need, or who else will be voicing it with me. This introduction was no exception.

Read more
Humor Research
10:31 am
Sat April 26, 2014

Home Of Second City Comedy Ranks First In Humor

Head to Chicago for top-shelf comedy.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 12:45 pm

Need a good laugh? Try Chicago.

The Humor Research Lab at the Leeds School of Business at University of Colorado Boulder (and doesn't that sound like it was created by The Onion?) concocted an algorithm to rate America's funniest cities.

Humor researchers calculated factors like the number of working comics and comedy clubs per capita, funny local tweeters and visits to funny websites. They asked people to assess what they called their "need for levity."

Read more
The Colin McEnroe Show
12:00 am
Fri April 11, 2014

The Nose Replaces Colbert, Marries Jesus, and Has No Love For the Gov

Portrait of a Lady: Susan Campbell is the communications and development director for Partnership for Strong Communities, and author of Tempest Tossed: The Spirit of Isabella Beecher Hooker.
Chion Wolf WNPR

Scientists say the papyrus that mentions a wife of Jesus is not a forgery. Stephen Colbert will take over when Letterman leaves. I'm not saying the two things are connected, but maybe our weekly culture roundtable The Nose will find a common thread.

It might seem like a small thing - the departure of Stephen Colbert from his late night role in which he depicts a strutting, preening, right-wing media star. In the last analysis, who cares who takes over the Letterman show?

Read more
Television
1:05 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Stephen Colbert Will Take Over 'Late Show'

Stephen Colbert: He's moving on up, from basic cable to the big time.
Theo Wargo Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 10, 2014 1:38 pm

Breaking news on CBS-TV's Twitter feed:

"Stephen Colbert to be next host of 'The Late Show'...press release coming"

Read more
The Colin McEnroe Show
10:31 am
Mon March 24, 2014

The Scramble: Intelligence Gathering, the History of Missing Airplanes, and the Book of Mormon

Credit Future Atlas / Flickr Creative Commons

Today on The Scramble, we'll talk about a system run by the Navy that keeps track of, among other things, parking tickets and field information cards filled out by police, even when no crime has occurred - is this data collection crossing a line?

Read more
The Colin McEnroe Show
12:00 am
Fri March 14, 2014

The Nose Lurks Behind the Backdrop of "Between Two Ferns"

Matthew Warshauer is a Professor of History at Central Connecticut State University, and board member of Connecticut Humanities.
Chion Wolf WNPR

President Obama has consistently refused to be a panelist on The Nose, but his appearance this week on "Between Two Ferns" with Zach Galifianakis has given us new hope!

Read more
Comedy
9:30 am
Tue March 11, 2014

Obama Goes Between The Ferns To Talk With Zach Galifianakis

In an interview with comedian Zach Galifianakis on the Web series Between Two Ferns, President Obama pitched health insurance to a younger audience.
Funny or Die

Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 8:01 pm

"My mouse pad broke, and I had to get my great-aunt some diabetes shoes."

That's how comedian Zach Galifianakis begins his segment with President Obama in an episode of the online interview show Between Two Ferns that was posted Tuesday. It was an interview unlike any other for a sitting U.S. president, as Galifianakis probed the commander in chief's views with a range of oddball questions.

Read more
Television
3:03 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

With Humor And A Nod To History, Fallon Takes Over 'The Tonight Show'

Jimmy Fallon took over as host of The Tonight Show on Monday. "I hope I do well," he told the audience. "I hope that you enjoy this."
Theo Wargo Getty Images for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

Opening nights of new incarnations of late-night TV talk shows are good, mostly, for first impressions — or, in the case of Jay Leno, sometimes a second impression. It's not fair to make strong judgments on the content alone, because a first show always is top-heavy with ideas, special guests and nervousness. But it is fair game to judge the set, the environment, the overall mood, and how well the host fits into the history of late-night television.

Read more
Television
7:56 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Jimmy Fallon, 'Your Host ... For Now,' Takes Over 'Tonight'

Jimmy Fallon during his debut Monday as host of NBC's The Tonight Show.
Theo Wargo Getty Images for 'The Tonight Show'

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 10:42 am

The new guy's getting pretty good reviews.

Jimmy Fallon took over NBC's The Tonight Show on Monday night, saying he just wants "to do the best I can ... make you laugh and put a smile on your face."

Read more
My Big Break
6:20 pm
Sun January 26, 2014

For 'SNL' Cast Member, The Waiting Was The Hardest Part

Bobby Moynihan (left) appears on Saturday Night Live as the character "Drunk Uncle."
NBC Dana Edelson/NBC

As part of a new series called "My Big Break," All Things Considered is collecting stories of triumph, big and small. These are the moments when everything seems to click and people leap forward into their careers.

For about a decade, Bobby Moynihan lived a double life. By day, Moynihan says, he tended bar at a Pizzeria Uno in New York. By night, he performed improv comedy at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre.

But he says he always had one dream: to join the cast of Saturday Night Live.

Read more
The Colin McEnroe Show
9:00 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

The Complications of Comedy

Didi Conn and Burke Moses
Chion Wolf

Dying is easy, comedy is hard. But, why is comedy so hard, especially on the stage, and what makes something funny?

The premise for a famously funny plot could easily sound like a tragedy.  An out of work actor is so desperate for employment that he dresses up like a woman and then falls in love with a beautiful co-star whom he deceives and betrays on several levels. That doesn't sound that hilarious. 

Read more
Comedy
6:27 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

As Zamata Joins 'SNL,' A Look At — And Beyond — The Prism Of Race

iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 7:19 pm

This week the long-running comedy show Saturday Night Live hired Sasheer Zamata as a new cast member. The show had come under criticism for its lack of diversity, especially its lack of black women; Zamata will be the show's first female African-American cast member in six years.

Read more
Code Switch
12:39 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Conversation About 'SNL' And Diversity 'Just Getting Started'

Meet Sasheer Zamata, Saturday Night Live's new cast member.
Heidi Gutman ABC via Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 1:10 pm

It may seem, now that Saturday Night Live has hired a black female cast member and two black female writers, that the conversation about diversity on TV's most influential comedy show is over.

But it's just getting started.

Read more
Comedy
12:05 pm
Tue December 31, 2013

For Key And Peele, Biracial Roots Bestow Special Comedic 'Power'

Keegan-Michael Key (left) and Jordan Peele both started their careers at Second City, Peele in Chicago and Key in Detroit.
Ian White Comedy Central

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 2:29 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on Nov. 20, 2013.

Read more
Comedy
12:05 pm
Tue December 31, 2013

Samberg, Taccone And Schaffer: Three's Not A Lonely Island

As kids, Jorma Taccone, Andy Samberg and Akiva Schaffer were all obsessed with hip-hop and TV shows like Yo! MTV Raps.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 2:29 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on June 18, 2013.

Read more
The Colin McEnroe Show
3:32 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Colin Quinn Takes On The Constitution

Colin Quinn in his new show, "Unconstitutional".
Credit Mike Lavoie.

There aren't that many jokes in the US Constitution. Either that, or there are too many, and they're all on us. Comedian Colin Quinn says most of you have never even read it. Who's gonna read something four pages long in this day and age?

Read more
Television
5:25 am
Sat November 23, 2013

Sarah Silverman, Serving Up Sinfully Divine Comedy

Nothing's sacred in We Are Miracles — but then as Sarah Silverman told Terry Gross in 2010, "there's a safety in what I do because I'm always the idiot. ... I'm always the ignoramus no matter what I talk about or what tragic event, off-color, dark scenario is evoked in my material."
Janet Van Ham HBO

Originally published on Sat November 23, 2013 11:18 am

Sarah Silverman is funny — sweet, bawdy, innocent, outrageous, Emmy-winning, milk-through-your-nose funny. And her new comedy special, We are Miracles, debuts tonight on HBO.

Performing in front of a live audience, the comedian takes on religion, pornography, childhood, politics and stereotypes, and no one's left standing. (No really: One punchline involves Hitler being assigned "Heil Marys" as penance.)

Silverman tells NPR's Scott Simon that she thinks good comedy comes from "some kind of childhood humiliation or darkness."

Read more
Laughter
6:35 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

Losing It On The Air

Credit Pulse12, Flickr Creative Commons

I don't know why we love it so much when anyone in front of a live audience loses their composure and bursts out into laughter. Maybe because it shows them for what they really are - human. It's so fascinating to witness a spontaneous surrender to, well, giddiness, and because of good ol' fashioned empathy, we can't help but laugh along. 

Read more
The Colin McEnroe Show
12:03 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

The Nose: Why We Love It When Actors Break Character

Jacques Lamarre talked about Oreos and other foods of obsession on today's Nose.
Credit Chion Wolf

A popular video this week was a highlight reel of Stephen Colbert being unable to stay in character as a pompous, self-pleased right wing blowhard. Instead, Colbert is swept up in the hilarity of the material. One of his adorable tricks is to hide the lower half of his face behind something, allowing us to see only his laughing eyes.

Read more

Pages