comedy

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Flash fiction goes by many names: micro-fiction, nano-fiction, short-shorts, and with the emergence of Twitter-fiction; twiction and twisters have also entered the fray. Whatever you choose to call it one thing's for sure: these pint-sized tales often punch way above their weight.

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His Royal Badness died yesterday. He was 57.

This hour, an appreciation of Prince.

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History and literature are filled with their antics. From the Renaissance's Triboulet to Shakespeare's Feste from "Twelfth Night," jesters and fools have delighted us for centuries with their subversive humor and quick wit. But while comedy was their brand, there existed hardships for these characters as well.

At 46, former Daily Show correspondent Samantha Bee says she's not very concerned with what people think of her.

Gage Skidmore / flickr creative commons

For a normal show, on a normal day, in a normal time, we'd usually put two or three experts in a room with Colin and ask them to hash out whatever it is we're interested in for that hour.

For this show, by the time it's over with, we'll have corresponded with dozens of people and recorded interviews with seven or eight experts from ten or eleven different disciplines: a philosopher, an ethicist, a futurist, a speechwriter, a comedy writer, an author of speculative fiction, a politician, an 'investigative humorist,' a Muslim, an expert in international affairs, and an expert in... manners.

MilkADeal / Flickr

The Thighmaster, the Chop-O-Matic, the George Foreman Grill and the Clapper: Products which are all part of American consumer culture and which were all introduced through infomercials. But as online shopping increases and traditional television watching decreases, are we beginning to see the end of these high-energy, late-night shows?

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This week, the universe chirped... and we heard it! Samantha Bee's new politics-lampooning late-night show debuted to a ton of buzz. The primary debates continued, and debate Twitter was watching.

Phil Konstantin. / Wikimedia Commons

Paula Poundstone and I started out with a plan for a short chat about her upcoming appearance in Connecticut, and then the conversation sprawled all over the place: from the comedy records of our nerdy youths, to the time she lived in Timothy Leary's guest room.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Recently, a group of us gathered on stage at Watkinson School for a conversation about humor and comedy.

The conversation had two fields on inquiry. The first was the very strange business of trying to be funny as a way of putting food on the table. It's a weird job. It's not so much a matter of trying to be funny as it is of trying to figure out what's funny about the thing sitting in front of you. 

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Bill Murray has been involved with some of our favorite movies of all time: Caddyshack, Ghostbusters, Moonrise Kingdom. He doesn't like managers or agents and rumor has it, once agreed to play Garfield because he thought it was a Coen Brothers film.

Pope Francis seems like a pontiff who not only has a feeling for the little guy, but also someone who enjoys a good laugh. And the Pope will soon get some humor help from a Vermonter  an East Dorset rabbi who has become comedy advisor to the pope.

Peter Hapak / anagasteyer.com

You may best remember Ana Gasteyer eating Alec Baldwin's Schweddy Balls as Margaret Jo, the NPR co-host of The Delicious Dish on "Saturday Night Live." She was also a real-life Broadway actor and cabaret singer, and she just released her new album of jazz standards, I'm Hip. We talk about her upcoming appearance at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center on November 24, part of CPTV's new national music series, The Kate.

Fresh off his celebrated comeback to comedy as guest host of Saturday Night Live over the weekend, comedian Tracy Morgan announced he's hitting the road on a stand-up tour.

Tracy Morgan made his return to comedy official Saturday as he returned to host Saturday Night Live, some 16 months after being seriously injured in a deadly car crash.

It's Oct. 1, two days before the season's first Saturday Night Live goes on air. Guest host Miley Cyrus is rehearsing, rumors are flying that presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is going to be on the show — and executive producer Lorne Michaels is in his office overlooking studio 8H, worrying.

If there was a moment that best summed up the inspired, surprising and sometimes uneven nature of Stephen Colbert's debut as host of CBS' Late Show last night, it came toward the program's end.

That's when Colbert, known for his willingness to croon a tune or two, jumped on stage to belt out a version of Sly and the Family Stone's Everyday People with an all-star band that included bluesman Buddy Guy, gospel legend Mavis Staples and Alabama Shakes singer Brittany Howard.

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So we know that everyone in the world is covering the end of Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show today. We know that you’ve probably already listened to an hour or two of radio about Jon Stewart on this very station today.

But the thing is, we’re gonna miss Jon Stewart too.

After 16 years of honing a unique brand of political satire that has been much copied, but rarely equaled, Jon Stewart signed off for his final episode of The Daily Show with a list of guests who either helped create the jokes or were on the receiving end of them over the years.

"Guess what?" Stewart opened. "I've got big news. This is it."

The 52-year-old comic announced last winter that he would be stepping down from the Comedy Central powerhouse, with Trevor Noah set to take over the hosting duties.

Peter Harrison / Creative Commons

This past week, a Minnesota dentist and father of two shocked us out of our complacency. Desensitized by the weekly shootings this summer of African Americans by white policemen, moviegoers in theaters and African American churchgoers by a young white racist,  his ambush of Cecil the lion was a visceral blow to our collective gut.  Yes, we're still horrified by the way human beings treat each other. Our outrage over Cecil doesn't change that horror, but animals are somehow out-of-bounds of our cruelty to one another. In some ways, they're like civilians in a war - innocent victims in a world outnumbered by humans with the power to destroy all that is natural in this world.

Last week, the Internet exploded after an episode of the WTF! Podcast with Marc Maron went online. The guest was the comedian Wyatt Cenac, who talked about being a writer and correspondent on The Daily Show for several years. He recalled getting into a heated argument with Jon Stewart over the host's impression of Herman Cain, which Cenac had found troubling:

Dominick D / Creative Commons

Two funny men. Two funny books. 

I Must Say: My Life as a Humble Comedy Legend follows the life of Martin Short, a funny man who spent his childhood staging elaborate one-man variety shows  in his attic bedroom before bringing us enduring and endearing characters like Ed Grimley, Irving Cohen and Jimmy Glick.  

Karyl Evans Productions/Facebook

The late John Meneely Jr., a Yale Medical School graduate, struggled to rebuild his life after returning home from World War II. His daughters have created an oratorio to commemorate their father, and the making of that oratorio is the subject of a new documentary called Letter from Italy 1944: A New American Oratorio, narrated by Meryl Streep. It airs this Thursday, June 18th, at 8pm on CPTV. We talk with the film’s director, Karyl Evans.

When the final episode came, after weeks of accolades and tributes to his genius, David Letterman made sure he punctured the emotion of the moment with a little old-fashioned, self-deprecating sarcasm.

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David Letterman reinvented television. He's irreplaceable. He was a comedic revolution. According to President Obama, Letterman is "a part of all of us."

After 26 seasons of giving life to nincompoops, do-gooders, and even God, actor Harry Shearer has announced he'll be leaving The Simpsons. A stalwart of the show, Shearer has voiced central characters such as Ned Flanders, Mr. Burns, Reverend Lovejoy and Principal Seymour Skinner.

In a tweet sent in the wee hours of Thursday, Shearer said he was leaving "because I wanted what we've always had: the freedom to do other work."

David Shankbone / Creative Commons

Eddie Murphy is this year's winner of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. The prize, given by the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., has been awarded since 1998. 

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You're probably no stranger to the Morning Zoo if you were in your teens or twenties in the 1980's. Developed after the death of disco left  Top 40 stations with a big hole to fill, the Morning Zoo revitalized early morning radio with a fast-paced improvisational style that for the first time broke down barriers between news and entertainment.

South African comedian Trevor Noah will become the new host of Comedy Central's The Daily Show, stepping into the role Jon Stewart has filled for 16 years.

Confirming reports of his new job Monday morning, Noah tweeted, "No-one can replace Jon Stewart. But together with the amazing team at The Daily Show, we will continue to make this the best damn news show!"

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