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Archive for the year 2010

NICK GRIFFIN INTERVIEW

A favorite on The Late Show with David Letterman, Nick Griffin brings a brand of comedy that is dry, cranky, and hilarious. His new album, Bring Out the Monkey, showcases Nick’s signature style of wit and explains why he has absolutely no sympathy for Brad Pitt’s penis. Rooftop caught up with Nick over email to hear how straight men show affection and why MTV Cribs won’t be calling him any time soon.

Rooftop Comedy: You’ve appeared on Letterman several times. Are there any memorable anecdotes from your late night appearances?

Nick Griffin: Not a one, except I’m always sure that I am going to throw up or unload in my pants the second after Letterman calls my name.

RT: How do you prepare for late night appearances?

NG: I do the set as much as I can, maybe twenty or thirty times in the last two weeks before I am on the show. I also tape the set and then listen to it over and over as I’m walking around town. I write it out word for word a couple of times too. I’m a comic. I’m insecure. I’m sure If I don’t do all that shit, I’ll forget the order of the jokes the night I perform.

RT: When you’re performing on Letterman, do you find yourself instinctively wanting to grab a mic?

NG: Only the one in my pants.

RT: That’s some snazzy artwork on your new album cover.

NG: Isn’t it amazing?! My friend did it. He’s a fantastic painter. His name is Alexander Schaefer.

RT: Some of your fellow comedians have called you everything from a “gay James Dean” to “the worst rapper ever”. Where do you find such great friends?

NG: They attack because they love me. It’s how straight men show affection.

RT: On a related note, do you think Ardie Fuqua is underestimating your potential as a rapper?

NG: I trust Ardie’s instincts regarding my rap talents.

RT: On your blog, there’s a video tour of your accommodations while on the road. Do you ever get tired of living such a glamorous life?

NG: A few years back I was sitting at the bar in the comedy club I was working and this guy who I have to believe was an aspiring comic came up to me and asked what it was like doing stand up for a living. I told him it was a total fucking nightmare. And it is. Ask anyone who’s toured for more than ten years. The performing is a thrill and a challenge. The rest of it is too hard. So much alone time with a half ass brain. You can’t believe the things it says to me. But the truth is I wouldn’t do anything else in the world.

RT: Have the people from MTV Cribs called you yet?

NG: Unfortunately no. They probably heard that I’m the worst rapper ever.

Auggie Smith Interview

By Jono Simrin

If you asked Auggie Smith to name his major influences, chances are he’d list the pantheon of ‘80s rock gods before he got to George Carlin or Richard Pryor. On his latest album, Smell the Thunder, he rocks out just as much as he rips on politics. Rooftop got a chance to chat with Auggie about his favorite Idaho bars, his inherent disappointment with Sarah Palin, and what the federal government can learn from strip clubs.

Rooftop: The cover art for your new album, Smell the Thunder, is certainly not your typical stand-up comedy album. How did you come up with the artwork concept?

Auggie Smith: I was a teenager during the ‘80s, which was the worst and best time for music and it was obviously wonderful for glam-rock Ronnie James Dio types at the time. And I used to love the album cover art of that. So that was basically the idea. My whole life, I’ve really wanted one of those concert t-shirts that rock bands have where you have the cover art on the front and on the back all of your tour dates. So I’m hoping next year that I’ll also be able to sell t-shirts with the Smell the Thunder cover on the front and all my tour dates on the back.

RT: In many of your jokes, you gradually speak louder and louder until you’re essentially shouting the punchline. How did you develop that style of delivery?
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Sebastian Comedy Retreat, Florida 2011

By Nathan Timmel


The Sebastian Comedy Retreat is a gathering of stand-up comics, managers, club owners, agents and entertainment industry professionals that takes place in Vero Beach, Florida January 9th – 15th, 2011. Participants can focus on their goals and objective of their careers in a peaceful and restorative setting. Workshops, parties, showcases, skill building conferences along with outdoor activities that allow attendees to gain priceless insight and spark more industry relationships. Rooftop correspondent and Iowa based comedian Nathan Timmel had a few questions for retreat director Victoria Jackson.

Rooftop:   How many years have you been offering this retreat for comedians?

VJ:   This is our first year for this retreat and we are working hard to make this first year a successful, entertaining, and worthwhile, so that we may continue to do this every year and grow bigger and bigger as the word and laughter spreads throughout the country.

Rooftop:   The retreat seems a generous mix of business and pleasure; what would you say the breakdown is between the two?

VJ:     Not only will this retreat break down the fundamentals for beginner comics or those veterans looking to gain and create new material but to meet others, network there talent and to have fun. You will get to showcase your work, talk to veteran comics and agents in the business. We have a lot of events throughout the week that comics can sign up for such as a Kayak River Tour, a day out on the beautiful Indian River and Atlantic Ocean for a day of fishing. We also offer a March Harbor, Bahamas Day Trip, which is a beautiful get away for those who live in the cold weather. We will have a Cocktail reception along with a party at Waldo’s Restaurant on the beach where the comics and residents of the area will get to mix and mingle.

Rooftop:    What can comedians expect to get out of their weekend in Florida?
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ALBUM REVIEW: Nick Griffin’s “Bring Out the Monkey”

Here’s a review of Nick Griffin’s new album “Bring Out the Monkey” by The Serious Comedy Site. “Bring Out the Monkey” is available on Tuesday, December 21st on iTunes and at the Rooftop Comedy Shop.

“Nick Griffin is an excellent stand-up comic with a somewhat existentialist take on things. His 2010 stand-up comedy download and CD Bring Out The Monkey is solid all the way through. Griffin takes on the travails of daily life. The result is a series of short routines that will make you laugh and a few punchlines you will steal to sound funny around the water cooler: ‘I have a six-digit PIN number to a two-digit balance.’

Most of the topics on this stand-up comedy CD are the kind of stuff you hear comics do almost all the time. The trick, and Nick Griffin more than has it, is to make these observations on daily life interesting and give them a good pay off. An example of that is the short and dead-on routine on men crying. Read more »

ROOFTOP NOMINATED FOR BEST COMEDY FESTIVAL

GOOD NEWS! The Rooftop Comedy Festival has been nominated for Best Comedy Festival by Punchline Magazine!!! Please, please, pretty please cast your vote for it at Punchline Magazine’s Punchlist Poll! There a bunch of other great categories to vote for including Best Stand Up Comedian on TV, Best new podcast, and Best Tweeter.

Visit Punchline Magazine’s Punchlist Poll.

Brian Scott McFadden Interview

Interview by Jono Simrin

Brian Scott McFadden’s new album, What Women Want, is like some kind of hilarious melting pot, showcasing Brian’s various comedic talents and proving why he is a fixture of the New York comedy scene. Whether he’s impersonating his war-troubled Russian trainer or providing all-too-insightful insights into relationships, Brian keeps the laughs coming. I got the chance to chat with Brian right before he flew to Jordan to participate in the Amman Stand-Up Comedy Festival.

Rooftop: I really appreciate you taking some time to chat with me right before you set off for Jordan.

BSM: Interviewing comedians is always a weird issue. I’ve noticed my favorite comedian who gets interviewed is Gilbert Gottfried, who never, ever answers a question straight. There’s always that paradox of when they ask a comedian a question. They really want to know the answer or they just want to cue him to say something funny. They asked Gilbert whether that was his real voice. He said, “No. Actually, I have an Irish brogue.” That was my favorite response to a comedy question I’ve ever seen.
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ROOFTOP PLAYS SANTA FOR A GOOD CAUSE

Rooftop adopted a family! Yes, you read correctly. We’ve transformed our office into a workshop of toys and treats to support a family at La Casa De Las Madres – San Francisco’s first domestic violence shelter for women and their children.

La Casa De Las Madres Adopt a Family Program assists families who will be in their emergency shelter during the holiday season, who will be transitioning out of shelter into their own housing for the holidays, or who are struggling to make ends meet in building a stable, violence-free life.

If you’d like to donate to Casa, please visit their website: www.lacasadelasmadres.org. Happy Holidays, everybody!

PUNCHLINE MAGAZINE’S TOP 10 ALBUMS OF 2010

Punchline Magazine published their “Top 10 Comedy Albums of 2010″ list today, and we are very pleased to see two Rooftop Comedy Productions on the list.

Coming in at #9: Ryan Singer’s “How to Get High Without Drugs”

From Punchline Magazine:
“Although less incendiary than the explosive Lenny Bruce and more homespun than the irascible Bill Hicks, Ryan Singer nonetheless shares DNA with those great comic commandos,” Punchline Magazine’s John Delery wrote in our January review of Singer’s album. “Singer seemingly lobs softballs instead of hand grenades when deftly and cleverly deriding hypocrites, homophobes and bigots. But just because he camouflages his contempt in sarcasm does not make him any less of a provocateur than his predecessors.” And Singer is just plain fun, especially when he commits to character work and word play.

Coming in at #7: W. KAMAU BELL’s – Face Full of Flour

Says Punchline Magazine:
Though not everyone knows it quite yet, San Francisco-based W. Kamau Bell is one of our country’s most adept racial and political commentators; he’s got a blistering wit and a willingness to say what you quickly realize you’ve always thought. He’s relentlessly intelligent, fusing references to create a rich expression of incredulity in a post-Obama world. Note to working comedians: despite what’s been said time and again, it’s possible make fun of our current president and mean it. Kamau is an Obama supporter but deftly takes the piss out of him when necessary. And all of that is there for us to play – and re-play – on Face Full of Flour, a masterful, thinking man’s album.

You can purchase Ryan Singer’s How to Get High Without Drugs and W Kamau Bell’s Face Full of Flour at the Rooftop Shop.

Who else made the Top 10? Find out at Punchline Magazine.com.

ROOFTOP’S HOLIDAY VIDEO COUNT DOWN

It’s officially a holiday tradition. The Rooftop Comedy Advent Calendar is back with 24 new videos to celebrate each day leading up to Christmas. Check back daily for a new video from some our favorite comedians – like “Holiday Dreams” from Matt Knudsen.

And while you’re in the Holiday spirit, why not stop by our Comedy Shop and pick up a gift for yourself, someone you love, or Barbara in accounting. Happy Holidays!

LITTLE REID, BIG CITY #8


by Reid Faylor

Hello everyone. I have a question for you: can you guess what is in my mouth? Some of you may be thinking, “It’s probably a swear; his mouth is full of swears, on account of bad feelings towards New York City.” You’re wrong. It’s ice cream. The flavor? Cookies and cream.

This is as good a sign as any of my optimism.

My last blog post was full of sailor-talk-laced motivations and rough realizations that I need to work harder. And I’m not sure what it was, but it started to work. I was ashamed prior of the four shows I did in a week, and the week of my realization, bumped, however slightly, the number up to six. After that week, I did eight. This past week, gladly interrupted by my visiting lady-friend, I did six shows in just three days. All together this does mark an improvement, but now even this seems like too little –I need more.

I’m really starting to appreciate doing multiple shows in a night; something that back in Cincinnati was a rare treat. At some venues here I can literally perform upstairs, finish, walk downstairs, and perform again for a mostly different audience. I feel myself getting more and more comfortable, and the jokes I’m doing are feeling stronger and stronger. I remember when I first started performing, I would sometimes stand in front of my mirror and deliver my jokes fully animated –natural, fun, exactly myself. But when I would get on stage, that delivery would diminish to something a little drier, less excited, restrained. Now it seems every show I am performing the way I would perform as if in front of my mirror –I’m unrestrained, improvising, fully utilizing my voice. I feel full of feel-goods.

On the advice of Nikki Glaser (via Robbie Collier), I’ve started off every morning with writing. Just about twenty minutes of free writing immediately after I wake, completely stream-of-consciousness, in an attempt to empty out my brain. I’ve done it for a couple weeks now, and it seems to be making a difference. I always get trapped in loops of comedy thoughts; this seems to clear it out. I wake up and can swiftly rid myself of “baby bottoms” and “dog dick”, or whatever words I am always impelled to write for reasons which confuse me. After that, my writing the rest of the day seems more focused and less meandering. I’ve even started getting into other writing projects! I finally started on a book I’ve been preparing to write for a few months now, and I am pairing up with a friend in LA to write some comedy shorts. I am feeling more motivated than I ever have to do comedy.

In summation: yeah!

Now, a guest sentence from Dave Waite (Rooftop Comedy Festival, fresh haircut): “If you want it … you better want it (laughter) … can I be the conductor of the fuck train? The engineer? Boom. Ah … I better shit … got to get going. How far is it to Chelsea?” And upon having it read back to him, “Yeah. That sounds good.”

Follow Reid on Twitter