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MARK POTTS REVIEWS “THE SOCIAL NETWORK”


Why does it seem like geeks and nerds always get involved in a lot of unnecessary drama? Remember that movie, “The Pirates of Silicon Valley,” the one about how Microsoft and Apple came be? Lots of nerdy drama. And you think, “Hey, nerds, come on. You guys should be fighting together to get super popular and rich in order to beat the nerd-haters.” But no. That doesn’t happen. And that film and “The Social Network” are great reminders of one thing everyone should know: nerds are vicious assholes who you really don’t want to mess with.

Jesse Eisenberg moves away from the awkward-teen phase and into pure ballsack territory, playing Mark Zuckerberg as a nerd hellbent on being popular and liked, but doing it in the worse ways, like alienating anyone and everyone around him. One night, after being a complete douche to his girlfriend, Zuckerberg goes back to his Harvard dorm, blogs mean things about her, then comes up with a way to hack the Harvard facebooks (websites with the photos of people who live in the individual dorms) and make it to where people can compare the looks of their female classmates. The website is so popular that it gets Zuckerberg in a lot of trouble, makes all the women on campus hates him, but attracts the attention of three men who have an idea for Harvard Connection, a website for Harvard students to go online and, well, it’s just like Facebook.

Which is where Zuckerberg gets the idea for Facebook. He asks his one and only friend, Eduardo Saverin (who is playing the new Spider Man) for start up cash, and they start creating Facebook together. Then, the Harvard Connection guys get super pissed and then Zuckerberg starts to push Spider Man out of the website all together and drama, drama, drama.

The film is actually incredibly entertaining and engaging. It is great to see Eisenberg finally become something more than a stereotype, something Michael Cera has yet to do (and I have no clue how he will do it.) Justin Timberlake (or JT as I like to call him) is really good in the film, playing Sean Parker, the inventor of Napster who comes in and gets Facebook millions and millions of dollars. He is what drives the wedge in between Zuckerberg and Spider Man. Who knew JT had the acting chops?

David Fincher did. Fincher’s a brilliant director and shows it off here. The guy just knows how to move a film, between the pacing and cinematography, you never once look at your watch and sigh in horror at the amount of time left.

It is a fast film, but it has a lot in it. Is this the film of our generation as many have called it? I don’t know. But it is interesting to see the exact moment when, literally, everyone’s lives changed. Do you remember when Facebook wasn’t around? What the hell did we do on the internet? Just look at porn? Probably. I mean, I didn’t. I was reading the, um, Wall Street Journal. So this film defines when our lives truly changed. How many times do you check Facebook a day? Less than 10? I doubt it. It’s probably on your phone, also. Which means, you are always connected to it. It is who we are now.

And we have a nerd hellbent on being liked to thank for that. See, high school bullies and jocks, do not fuck with the nerds.

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Little Reid, Big City #4

by Reid Faylor


You know that one Beatles song? The one about how it, gradually, over time, continues to get better? I think it’s called “Back in the USSR.” Things have been like that song.

I came back last Monday from a trip to Fort Wayne (Indiana!), this time returning with possessions (yes!) and my parents in tow. We spent a day fixing up the apartment, building shelves, hanging window blinds and such, and decided to see the Punchline Magazine 5th anniversary show. While taking the subway out to Comix, my parents commented and how adapted I was already –I could use the metro card with ease, find my way around, ignore the homeless like they weren’t even people (well, I mean … ). I suppose I hadn’t really thought of it, but I do indeed feel comfortable here –it’s not foreign or alien, it’s normal.

Being away from the scene for even a week was strange. It took a bit to get back into the flow, to start getting to the mics on time and jump back into the schedule. When I saw some of the other comics, they had thought I had gone back permanently. After a week. Or maybe it was just one comic. Who I hadn’t seen in a few weeks. But that gives you an idea of the commitment of the comedians here: even a week off is equivalent to disappearing.

I’ve been talking to a lot of comics who also recently made the Ohio-New York transition, and it keeps coming up: it’s strange performing for only comics. A lot of people question whether it’s even worth it, if progress can be made without an audience. On one hand, I haven’t really polished a lot of new material, mostly from the incapability to get a good “reid” (ha! That’s my name) on a joke, getting only worn and bitter comedian reactions. Yet, conversely, all the stage time has gotten me a lot more comfortable, and I’m beginning to find more and more how I like to interact on stage –my mannerisms, method of speaking, timing. Also, it takes going through shows like this to get to booked shows with real audience members, so it’s not all this way. It’s a process. It can definitely bruise the ego, but I feel like progress is being made, if nothing more than getting comfortable with the occasional silence.

Highlight of the week: performing at a youth hostel for drunk, vociferous, and belligerent Canadians, and informing one such Canuck with a lip-ful of Skoal and sunglasses that his real problem was that “your mother threw away the baby and raised the afterbirth.” It’s actually a compliment, as I explained, because if he were a person –he’d be a terrible person. But for a living sack of uterus blood and placenta –not too bad.

Ah. Truly, there are reasons to keep with this.

Follow Reid on Twitter.

Help Bob’s Kids


I met Robert Schimmel by happy happenchance. I was booked to middle for him at the Chicago Improv, and because Robert was a fearless man, the date stuck. I say that because more often than not, when a big name comedian performs, they use an opening act they are familiar with. Sometimes this is done as a kindness to friends; often it’s because they want to make sure the person in front of them is good enough to get a few laughs without showing them up. Robert didn’t play such games. He was confident in his abilities, and knew he could follow anyone in front of him.

Robert was going through some tough times when we met; he had just discovered his wife’s infidelity, she had filed for divorce, and he’d been both arrested and gossiped about on TMZ after his wife filed assault charges (falsely) against him. Robert talked about these problems on stage in front of hundreds of people as easily as if he were having a one-on-one conversation. Unfortunately, at times like that, the stage can be like a drug. For a moment you are the most important thing in the world, but when the show ends the crash comes harshly. People go home with their wives or girlfriends, and you go back to your hotel and stare at the walls, thinking about your problems.

During that weekend in Chicago, Robert and I went out to eat after the Friday performances. Afterward, I drove him back to his hotel. I got out to help him with a bag, and the conversation we had been having continued. Despite all he was going through, Robert was focusing on the positives in life: his children. He spoke of them with warmth in his voice and love shining through in his eyes. Forty minutes later, I realized we had been standing in the parking lot, my car running the whole time. I turned it off, and we went into the lobby. We didn’t part ways until 4:30 a.m.

After that weekend, Robert would call me from time to time, checking in to see if I could work with him here or there. Sometimes I was able to; sadly I had to turn many of the weeks down, as I was already booked. Today, I wish I had spent more time with him.

I was in Iraq when the news hit the wire services: Robert had been in a car accident and was in critical condition. He passed on September 3rd. To have survived cancer and then taken out by a random event seemed too cruel for such a good person.

I recently discovered the charity Help Bob’s Kids, created for his children. When I found the website, I was heartbroken, but not surprised. I knew how much the divorce had cost him, how he had lost work over the assault scandal (which found everything ending in his favor, as he was the furthest thing from an abusive or angry person you could find; Robert was a gentle soul), and how hard he needed to work to remain solvent every month.

Charity and compassion are two of the greatest acts we can bestow upon others. This is trite, but important to point out: anything you can give to another makes a difference. Even if all you have to offer is one dollar, should ten thousand other people offer but a dollar, $10,000 is raised.

Give what you can, for any reason you choose: for karma, in the hope that someday you’ll be helped when in need, or because generosity simply feels good.

One of the most striking things Robert said to me was something you hear from many cancer survivors: “I’m blessed to have had the experience.” Though it left his body ravaged, survival was Robert’s opportunity to celebrate life, and he took nothing for granted.

He will be missed for many years to come.

Help Bob’s Kids

http://helpbob.wordpress.com/

“THAT’S GAY” INTERVIEWS LADY BUNNY

by Bryan Safi, writer for infoMania and host of “That’s Gay.”

On Thursday, October 7th, I’m debuting a That’s Gay Live show at the Out Loud Comedy Festival in San Francisco! But enough about me and how you should buy tickets to come see me here.

Another performer at the festival is none other than RuPaul’s Drag U. star and world-famous drag artiste Lady Bunny! Lady Bunny and I had a very intimate conversation via email about a makeover-crazed America, why Martin Lawrence is scary, and, of course, “no homo.”

Q: Lady Bunny! What are you planning to do at the Out Loud Comedy Festival? And what else are you working on right now?
A: With the Castro Theater’s giant film screen as a back-drop, I’m premiering a song parody of Katy Perry’s “California.” It’s the first time I’ve ever produced a video project and thanks to my co-stars and fab crew, I am thrilled at how rotten (in a good way) it turned out. I’ve always admired queens like Varla who incorporate video into their act–I’ve just never gotten it together until now. I’ve also been working on some stand-up comedy and will throw in a little of that.

Q: I loved watching you as a judge on Drag U. Is RuPaul every bit as amazing as I hope?
A: Ru is my drag mother and roommate from Atlanta, Georgia in the early 1980s. We also lived together in NYC for several years. So while we’re close and can always pick up where we left off, it wasn’t until we appeared together in Starrbooty and Another Gay Sequel: Gays Gone Wild that we reconnected since he’s mainly been living in LA. We share a demented sense of humor.

Q: Did you have a favorite guest judge?
A: I truly liked all of them but really connected with Mia Tyler and Kelly Osbourne. But I was in total awe of Chaka Khan. Rags To Rufus was the first album I ever bought! She’s one of the world’s greatest singers in my book.

Q: I’ve talked before about the “gay best friend” and how oftentimes, women see gay men as accessories and go to them for help. Now, Drag U was about transforming ordinary women into extraordinary drag queens. Are you afraid that women on the streets may attack you for guidance now?
A: America is make-over crazy. And especially since Queer Eye [for the Straight Guy], there is a perception that gay men or drag queens can transform anyone with their helpful hints. And do you know why we have such a knack for correcting figure flaws, hairstyles, flattering clothing, and body language? Because straights can be evil and if we don’t learn how not to swish and what not to wear, straights may beat us up or even kill us. So the message I’d like to send to these makeover crazy women is that if you value us and our tips, then value our lives and teach your sons and husbands not to beat and murder us. Because you bitches can’t get any more tips from a dead gay.

Q: Who are you loving in the media right now? Who are you hating?
A: I am loving Michael Moore, Senator Alan Grayson, Rachel Maddow, and Keith Olbermann for having the balls to keep the truth out there. I’m hating all of the housewives from all the Bravo shows. Last time I checked, housewives cooked, did laundry, and raised their kids. Not like these horrors.

Q: It seems like the only images we get about female impersonation are from RuPaul’s Drag Race and Drag U. Who or what inspired you to get into this line of work?
A: I was enthralled by drag queens I saw at a young age in bars in Chattanooga, Tennessee where I grew up. Except for TV and film, I’d never seen women–much less men–wearing sequinned gowns, huge hair and false eyelashes before. My mom was attractive, but no definitely no glamorpuss.

Q: Rate these queens on a scale of 1-10. Tyler Perry’s Madea —
A: Zero. I’ve never seen it or had any desire to.

Q: Two — Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie?
A: I thought it was pitiful that they worked in a love scene with Dustin and Jessica Lange. Totally unbelievable that they’d be in bed and she wouldn’t notice his stubble.

Q: Three — Martin Lawrence in Big Momma’s House?
A: Zero. Wouldn’t see it. I find Martin Lawrence very scary for some reason, although he was funny when he did that drag character with the very long nails.

Q: Four — Nathan Lane in The Birdcage?
A: Zero. He ruined the role by playing it as a clown. In the original film, the queen may have been older and not so attractive, but she was still regal so you feared her tantrums and catered to your whims. Nathan killed all of that with his slapstick take on the character.

Q: Is there anything on TV or in film that you feel really gets it right when it comes to portrayals of gays and gayness?
A: The maid in The Birdcage was a riot–and he was straight! But drag is often misrepresented, as is transsexualism. I still can’t get over how absurd it was to have Terence Stamp, with a full beard visible, play a post-op transsexual in Priscilla. News flash! You get electrolysis before the chop! However, I did think Felicity Huffman did a great job as an awkward pre-op in Transamerica.

Q: My show at Out Loud is about the State of the (Super Gay) Union – a look at how we’ve been portrayed in the past year. What’s something you’d want to change about the state of gays right now?
A: While I support equal rights for all, I can’t understand why gays would want to serve in the military now. We should never have gone to Iraq and Afghanistan is a never-ending, mismanaged quagmire. How does anyone look at that and think “Where do I sign up?” As an oppressed people, gays shouldn’t want to join a military force which oppresses others. I agree that they should have the right to serve if they want it, I just can’t see why they do.

Q: How often do you use the phrase “no homo?”
A: Never.

Get tickets to the first ever live version of Bryan’s segment on Thursday, October 7 and tickets to see The Drag Queens of Comedy on Saturday, October 9th at San Francisco’s Out Loud Comedy Festival.

Dylan Gadino Interview


Dylan Gadino founded Punchline Magazine in 2005 because he saw a void; stand-up comedy seemed to have no professional outlet or voice. Music had Rolling Stone and a multitude of other magazines; Movies and Television had Entertainment Weekly (and a multitude of other magazines). But no one had focused on comedy.

To celebrate Punchline Magazine’s fifth anniversary, shows are being held in New York and Los Angeles. Top-notch talent including (but not limited to) Christian Finnegan, Michael Ian Black, Greg Proops, and Maria Bamford will perform at either show, and tickets can be purchased via the web:  Los AngelesNew York

Rooftop had Nathan Timmel discuss all things Punchline with its founder, Mr. Gadino.

NT: What got you interested in comedy, and then pushing it via the magazine?

DG: I’ve never been a comedian, but I was always a huge fan of stand up comedy. Ever since my senior year in college I did a lot of freelance writing for music magazines; I had a lot of experience interviewing musicians, and writing reviews of rock albums. When I started getting sick of that I thought, ‘why not take all my experience in the entertainment industry and cover stand up comedy the same way we’ve seen music, movies, and television covered?’ That’s basically it. So, huge fan of stand up, and a huge fan of creative writing, and I just wanted to combine the two.

NT: Your background in music; do you find the saying “every musician wants to be a comedian, and every comedian wants to be a rock star” to be true?

DG: I think all that means is that rock stars are starved for attention and want to be famous, and so do comedians. I don’t know how many rock stars literally want to be comedians or how many comedians want to be rock stars, but they all want to be well respected and well liked.

NT: I sometimes wonder if it isn’t more literal; you get comedians who say ‘Oh, musicians can write a love song that gets played over and over, but no one wants to hear my masturbation joke on the radio, and I can’t dedicate a joke to a woman…” I was lucky enough to meet Dave Attell once, and when he found out I used to be in a band he said flat out, ‘Then what the hell are you doing comedy for? If I had any musical talent I wouldn’t be doing this shit.’

DG: [Laughs]

NT: Did technology play into your desire to have a comedy presence; where traditional print might not have worked, the web allowed you an opportunity?

DG: Yeah, I wanted to go online because it’s just so much easier and less expensive. There’s not as much overhead, and even five years ago it didn’t seem like a great idea to make a print version of a consumer driven magazine that covered stand up comedy.

NT: How much has your enterprise grown in the past five years?

DG: Basically, I launched the site in 2005 with a childhood friend named Bill Bergmann. We grew up on the same street, and we played in bands together. He does all the tech stuff, and always has. When we first started it was just the two of us, and maybe once in a while one of my friends would contribute a piece or two. It’s definitely grown since then, but not in a way that would provide an awesome contrast between then and now. Today it’s still me and him, plus a lot of great people I know across the country who will interview comedians and write reviews which is great, having fresh eyes and minds doing the writing and interviewing. I’ve tried to now shift my focus to managing and work on the business end of things: maintaining relationships, working with other sites, marketing… everything behind the scenes.

One big recent change is a few months ago, Salient Media, in Beverly Hills, acquired the site. I’m still running everything from an editorial side, but now there’s a bit of a machine behind the business, and hopefully within a year that will be apparent, that we’ve got some push now.

NT: You mentioned partnerships; how did your friendship with Rooftop Comedy develop?

DG: That was all MySpace. Years ago… [Pauses] Annie at Rooftop likes to say we “grew up” together. Which is true, in that we were starting around the same time, and looking to form alliances with like-minded websites. I think Will contacted me through MySpace, and we started emailing, which led to a phone call, and then five years later we’re both trying to champion stand up comedy. We’re not competitors, each site has its own focus, where they collect and disseminate the art form, and we critique and feature comedians. Today we try to cross promote one another, simply to push comedy.

NT: Which brings us to your anniversary shows, the cross promotion. You have two shows coming up to celebrate your milestone, October 5th in New York and October 11th in Los Angeles. What kept you from having multiple shows on one day, like Live Aid?

DG: [Laughs] That would have been awesome! The main thing that kept me from doing that, though, was that I wanted to be at both shows. It’s not like we have a giant office, with a bunch of people—I don’t have an assistant or anything like that—so I wouldn’t want one of the shows to happen without me there to handle complaints or problems.

NT: You’ve got a great line up; was it pretty easy to get people, just asking them if they were interested?

DG: Yeah, I mean, after doing this for five years I’ve established some good relationships, so it’s not a giant undertaking. I don’t have to go through managers or agents.. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m friends with these people; I wouldn’t want to trade on their names like that. But you meet them, exchange an email or phone call every so often, a “How’re you doing?” And then when something like this comes up you can just ask if they’re interested, and luckily a lot of them were.

NT: Talk about A Tight 5, your interview segments. The segments are edited; was there ever the thought to tell the comics up front, “This is going to be 5 minutes, so stay focused”?

DG: Well, we wanted to keep it to five minutes, because not many people are going to watch more than that online. Sure, there are probably a couple comedy nerds out there who would watch twenty-minute interviews, but generally keeping it to five minutes holds the viewers attention. I never wanted to say, “Let’s do a live five minutes, and keep it to that,” and there are a couple reasons for that. This is going to be online forever, so I wanted them to have a feel of timelessness. When you do a live interview, you’re usually really focused on what they’re promoting that week, that show or that album. What I wanted to do was give people the depth of a twenty-minute interview, in five minutes.

NT: You do sometimes post uncut interviews, and recently did with Robert Schimmel, whose loss was… just tragic.

DG: Yeah… I got to meet him twice; once at his book party, and once at the interview, and he was a nice, Zen, extremely soft-spoken person. I was surprised at how thin and frail he was.

NT: I think that was the cancer, sadly. I could never say this definitively, as I only met him after his bout with it, but I would say his Zen-like nature came from having battled that disease. He used to say that amazing phrase which was, “It was horrible, but I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything in the world.”

DG: I really liked him; he was gracious, and seemed genuinely interested in the interview.

NT: Do you feel like going on record and saying who your best and worst interviews were?

DG: [Pauses, laughs] Um…

NT: You don’t have to.

DG: [Laughs] No, it’s OK. I would have to say that it was Kevin Nealon, from a few years ago. I was purposely asking him open-ended questions that couldn’t just be answered with a yes or no, but he wasn’t giving me anything. I’m not saying he’s a horrible guy, or that he’s not funny, maybe he just didn’t feel like doing an interview, or was sick. But he wasn’t a jerk or anything like that.

NT: You didn’t have a Russell Crowe moment with him.

DG: [Laughs] No.

NT: And the best?

DG: From a professional point of view, like if I were to send out a tape as an audition to get an interviewing job, I’d have to say Jeff Dunham. I found him extremely nice, extremely professional, and the fact that he’s a bajillionare and extremely famous didn’t matter to him. He was seamless; we had some laughs, got some good information… he’s just a pro at giving interviews.

NT: One stupid thing to finish: I logged on to Twitter this morning and saw you verbalizing my thoughts on the news today, that George Lucas is going to release all the Star Wars films in 3D, showing that he hasn’t had an original idea since Howard The Duck.

DG: I rarely make any sort of editorial comment on the entertainment industry, but you have that childhood connection… I mean, I’m compulsive about certain things, where I’ll put Empire on in the background and let it run repeatedly while I do things around the house, because it just makes me feel good, and I guess it just [pauses] pisses me off that he just keeps re-releasing these things. [Laughs] It’s a stupid complaint…

NT: But a legitimate one.

PunchlineMagazine.com’s 5th Anniversary Show with Michael Ian Black, Christian Finnegan, Todd Barry, Hannibal Buress and more goes down tonight at Comix Comedy Club in New York City. Click here for tickets.

Bryan Safi interviews Sandra Bernhard

By Bryan Safi, writer for infoMania and host of “That’s Gay.”

This Thursday, I’m debuting a That’s Gay live show at the Out Loud Comedy Festival in San Francisco! But enough about me and how you should buy tickets to see me here — and on to someone far more interesting.

I had the chance to chat with the brilliant and hilarious Sandra Bernhard, who is headlining the Out Loud Comedy Festival in San Francisco Saturday, October 9th at the Castro.

We talked about her time on Roseanne, those unforgettable Letterman interviews, the nutty Christine O’Donnell, and why I would absolutely watch her reality show.

Q: You were kind of a big part of my household when I was younger. I told my Mom I was interviewing you and she goes, “Is that the one like Courtney Love?”
A: Really?! Oh my God. That’s hysterical.

Q: I told her you’ve both sung songs by Hole but that’s where it ended.
A: For sure. Oh my God. For sure.

Q: So what are you planning to do at Out Loud?
A: Just 45 minutes of my music and my comedy. It’ll cover everything from contemporary pop culture to my personal life to politics and everything in between.

Q: I saw you perform in Los Angeles once. And I remember that Michelle Lee from Knots Landing was in the audience. She was tipsy and you made some snarky remark to her.
A: Tipsy Lee! I’m gonna see Michelle tonight. We’re going to see Liza Minnelli.

Q: My segment “That’s Gay” talks about gay issues and stereotypes and the way the media looks at them. So I want to know who you’re loving in the media right now.
A: I love Rachel Maddow, I really like Amy Poehler. I’m a big fan of that show Mad Men. I don’t like all the hype around it, but I think it’s a very engaging show. I don’t watch much TV in general. Friday Night Lights is another one of my favorite shows.

Q: I’ve still never seen it.
A: You have to get it on DVD! And I love Damages. I don’t understand why all these great shows get overlooked. It doesn’t make any sense to me. I’ve been Twittering a lot too. I Twitter with Rosanne Cash, I’m going to tea over there this afternoon. I’ll tell you who I love – Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart. Especially Stephen Colbert. I think he’s fearless. I love how he plays it.

Q: Is reality TV something you’ve ever been interested in doing? I imagine you’ve been approached.
A: It’s interesting. Fifteen years ago, my friend Jhoni Marchinko – who ended up becoming the show runner for Will & Grace – pitched to HBO [the show concept] A Day in the Life of Sandra Bernhard.

Q: OH MY GOD, THAT WOULD BE SO GOOD.
A: The people at HBO said, “We don’t get it.” It was right before it all kind of exploded. And so it never happened. And then of course, y’know, Curb Your Enthusiasm and all these shows [came on]. But no, I would never wanna do a show that’s strictly maudlin and invaded my personal life and my home. I would never do that.

Q: What about on Bravo?
A: No, no, no, no. That’s not for Sandy. I don’t see the reality thing happening now. I don’t think there’s any room left to do anything inventive. They don’t want inventive. They wanna be hit over the head with this stuff. And, you know that’s not where I come from.

Q: When you came out on Roseanne, my parents wanted us to stop watching it. That must have been a huge moment – being one of the first recurring lesbian characters on a hit show.
A: Don’t forget I started out married to Tom Arnold. That’s what was sort of really funny about it. That was kind of the whole point, that he had driven me to it. So it wasn’t kind of like you were getting hit over the head with it – like, “We gotta throw a gay character on the show.” It was much more subtle.

Q: I remember the controversy over that kiss with Morgan Fairchild so well.
A: That kiss wasn’t consummated. ABC wouldn’t let us have the kiss. Just as we were starting to kiss, the camera cuts.

Q: I just remember being excited about it.
A: Yeah, it’s an interesting story. But nobody took [the lesbian thing] seriously on that show. Roseanne just shoots from the hip. She just goes for it. Nothing was ever serious on that show. Nobody was like, “Oh my god this is the most incredible thing.” She came up with funny ideas and things that hadn’t been talked about and she did it. That’s why to me it was so much more effective.

Q: Have you ever been proud of offending a particular person?
A: Before the last election, I spoke out a lot about Sarah Palin. I got harassed about that a lot. I’m glad I did. I’m glad I stood up. I can’t believe she’s still in the eye of the storm. I find that shocking. Most of what I’ve done over the years is take apart pop culture. I’m never out to get anybody. But that was a specific time. We’re still in a specific time of people being incredibly hateful and stupid and totally not in touch with what reality is. I just think we’re in a very weird place.

Q: This is a really strange time. Kind of terrifying. People are pissed.
A: Yes. There’s a lot of people who don’t work and have a lot of time on their hands. They’re frustrated. They don’t like that there’s a black president. They’re freaked out by the idea of gay people getting married. It’s too much for them. So they’re just freaking out.

Q: And people take comfort in that, too – in freaking out.
A: Yes. And then having other people to freak out with.

Q: I’m doing a show at Out Loud called the “State of the (Super Gay) Union.” I’m going to rattle off some current events and I’d love your thoughts on them. Ground Zero Mosque.
A: It’s absurd. Of course they should be allowed to build it.

Q: Christine O’Donnell.
A: She’s a fool. She’s like a total nut. [Laughs] My daughter’s home from school. She doesn’t feel well, and when you said Christine O’Donnell, she started laughing. That’s all I need to say – my daughter’s laughing. She just said, “a devotee of witchcraft.” It’s a hoot and a holler.

Q: The Real Housewives.
A: I put blinders on around those chicks. They drive me crazy.

Q: “No Homo.”
A: What’s that?

Q: It’s used a fair amount in hip-hop. An example would be, “Suck a dick. No homo.” Meaning, don’t take that in a gay way.
A: Like a disclaimer? Exactly. God. I don’t know about that. I guess I missed that one.

Q: My two favorite things are watching all of your old Letterman videos on YouTube and also watching Paris Is Burning. What does that mean?
A: They’re both pretty outrageous and unedited and uncensored. When I used to do Letterman, it was a different time. You could do stuff you can’t do now.

Q: Are you friendly with Letterman?
A: No! He wasn’t friendly with me. He totally turned off to me and didn’t have me on anymore. I don’t know. I have no idea why. Nothing happened. He moved to another network, and times changed. Maybe that was part of it. Maybe they didn’t want people to come on and use the place as an entertainment medium. It doesn’t make sense at all.

Q: What I loved about guests like you on those shows is you were just there to be interesting and funny and have a point of view and not to promote some shitty movie that nobody wants to see.
A: That’s right. Exactly. And that’s what television should be. It’s a total bummer now.

Get tickets to the first ever live version of Bryan’s segment on Thursday, October 7, at San Francisco’s Out Loud Comedy Festival.

Watch Bryan breakdown the Eddie Long scandal in this week’s episode of “That’s Gay.”

Punchline Magazine Interviews Sandra Bernhard

by Emma Kat Richardson, Punchline Magazine


Comedy icon Sandra Bernhard headlines Rooftop Comedy’s Out Loud Comedy and Arts Festival — running Oct. 7 – 10 — in San Francisco. In in an interview with Punchline Magazine, the versatile force of nature tells all!

Sandra Bernhard – actress, comedian, musician, pusher of societal buttons – has been a major league hitter in the entertainment game since the late ‘70s. Her career has spanned the administrations of presidents Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, and… well, you get the idea. Some would even say that her multi-range talents have included a trip into the much-traveled panties of the Material Girl, but it all depends on who you ask, and how drunk they are. (Bernhard herself has since refuted this long-nourished tale.)

Regardless, controversy and the endlessly churning celebrity rumor mill have always taken a backseat to the intricate craft of Bernhard’s comedy, and her staying power speaks as an undeniable testament to the driving force that is Ms. Sandra B.

And with appearances in more than 60 movies and TV shows, coupled with the kind of stand-up stamina that would send a million wannabe open mic stars weeping into their cheap beers, who’s going to successfully argue that her eventual tombstone should make any reference at all to Madonna?

Performing at Rooftop Comedy’s Out Loud Comedy Festival Oct. 7–10 in San Francisco, our favorite Roseanne guest star caught up with Punchline Magazine to rap about the gay community, Richard Pryor, and why she loves to sing the blues.

Punchline Mag: You’ve been performing since the late ‘70s. When you first started out, did you ever expect your career to maintain this level of longevity? Did you set out for that?

Sandra Bernhard: Oh, well, I thought I’d be a much bigger star than I am. [Laughs]. But I think I’ve been able to maintain my integrity and do my work and really enjoy it. I was just kidding about being a bigger star. Everything kind of comes in a wave. You do a project, and you get a lot of attention, or you can keep doing what you’re doing and sometimes people won’t notice it. Being a perennial, that’s the most rewarding part – being able to do my career the way I’ve done it.

Punchline Mag: Do you feel like it gives you a lot of creative leeway, because you’re not, as you said, living under a certain set of expectations?

Sandra Bernhard: Yeah. I don’t care for that. It’s just too much. You can end up saying the wrong thing, and people will ask you to backtrack and explain it. It’s like, that happens once in a while; I’ll say things that are controversial, and people will want to know if I meant it, but in general, when I perform, I get to do what I want to do and say it the way I want to say it. That makes me happy.

Punchline Mag: That’s interesting that they’d ask you if you really meant it. Would you say something you didn’t mean, as a comedian?


Read the rest of the interview at Punchline Magazine
.

Buy tickets to see Sandra.

Little Reid, Big City #3

by Reid Faylor

As I write this I am sitting in the La Guardia airport, waiting for a flight to return to Indiana, a place of soy and subdued racism from whence I was born. Considering I only came to New York with an air mattress and a suitcase, it is now time to go home and gather my worldly possessions, which I love and define me. I’m four weeks into the move –not a bad time to look back and evaluate.

Before the move, I had a lot of anxieties about coming out here. I didn’t know: anyone (kinda); where to perform; where to live; or how to get money. Now: I know people! I’ve gone so far as to recognize people on subways and street-walkin’, and there’s someone to talk to at every show. I know a couple venues to perform (mostly for free even) every night of the week, as well as some of the more popular booked shows to go and watch. I have an apartment, in a neighborhood with only the fewest of stabbings, and though my temp job is done, I actually earned money and have job prospects. Everything I worried about before coming out here resolved itself so simply it’s actually somewhat surprising –they were all pretty inconsequential, more intimidating than they should’ve been.

Not to say there aren’t problems being here. For example: a long-distance relationship! Contrary to what I previously thought, it turns out it’s not a cornucopia of pleasures and feel-goods. Rather, it’s more a wicker basket type structure, full of late-night phone calls, anxiety, and difficult emotions. It’s worth it, but by no means necessarily fun. Also: work! Aside from waking up early and being drained from a day of toil, the commute from New Jersey to New York has been so long at times (read: five hours) that it’s made me miss shows. Thankfully it only lasted for two weeks, and now I know what to consider in my new job search, ideally something with a better commute, more time to think.

A little girl in the airport is chasing a bird along the ground. You’re not going to catch it. You are a dumb little girl. Now your mom’s yelling at you and I hope you feel bad.

It’ll be interesting to get home and see what my perspective is –what will seem different, how it’ll feel being back in familiar terrain. Won’t really get a chance to do much comedy performing this week, though the time to write will be very welcome. I wonder how it’ll feel returning to New York in a week; it’s been good being there, but I wonder if in my mind I was still treating it as a long vacation. Yippee!

And now: guest sentences from my comedian roommates!

Andrew Short (performed with Mike Veccione, neatly trimmed nails): Reid, I’m not here. You’re alone in La Guardia. I’m not even here.

Seeing as Andrew went over his time, his guest sentence will not be returning next week. Dave Waite’s sentence will be up for another go though.

Jessi Campbell Interview

I met Jessi Campbell in Minneapolis several years ago, though I do not remember this. I was working at The Joke Joint, and she was a Minneapolis resident. At some point between shows I meandered out to the lobby to find a gaggle of comedians sitting around, chatting amiably. I said some hellos, and then wandered my way back into the showroom. In all, I may have met six people within a total of two minutes. I would remember nothing of this meeting, being that six people within two minutes is too much for my feeble brain to absorb.

Jessi, however, remembers every single person she meets. “It’s creepy,” she explained. “I will remember details of a conversation from years ago, things no one else will ever remember.”

Jessi would make an excellent stalker.

When she reminded me of our meeting, I naturally brought up the Twin Cities, and was informed of a very important change in her life…

NT: When did you move to Los Angeles?

JC: We moved here at the beginning of June. (2010)

NT: A newbie to the city. How do you like it so far?

JC: So far, I actually really like it. I haven’t been here too much yet; when we moved here, I immediately went out on the road for five weeks, so I’ve kind of been in and out, but the last two weeks I’ve been home and really enjoying it.

NT: Wait until winter. You’ll go home to Minnesota and say, “Hey, I don’t have to deal with this shit anymore.”

JC: I actually just threw out the jug of de-icer I had in my car. Won’t be needing that anymore!

NT: You said, “We moved”; who’s the other person in that statement?

JC: I’m married.

NT: Ah, so lack of research on the interviewers part. Who followed who? Was it his career, your career, both?

JC: It was sort of my decision. I was feeling a little stagnant in Minnesota, and figured at some point it’s “now or never.” If you’re going to make a lateral move in comedy, it’s either New York or LA, and this is where we came.

NT: In choosing LA, do you hope to get into acting? What nudged that city into the winning circle when it came to moving?

JC: Patton Oswald has a quote, “People ask me if I did stand up, but I act to be able to do stand up.” It’s all about putting butts into seats. I took a commercial acting workshop, because… I mean, if Flo from the Progressive ads did stand up, she’d be making so much money. So while all I really want to do is stand-up, I want to do other things to help that. If I were to get a small part on a sit-com, I could absolutely work more. So I’m taking some Improv classes, because I want to stay in the world of comedy, under that umbrella.

NT: That makes me so happy, because I lived in LA for a while and the most frustrating thing was meeting people who would say, “Oh, I’m an actor, model, comic.” And I would think, ‘Why don’t you just pick one and do it well?’

JC: I did this showcase with a girl, who was really, really nice, and she’s a commercial actress, and she said, “Wow, you’re really funny.” And I said, “Thanks, I’m a stand up comic,” and she said, “Yeah, this is a really good way to just get your face out there.” She didn’t get it when I explained, “No, I mean this is what I do, this is what I really love doing.”

NT: I had a similar experience once at a showcase, where they introduced a guy who was in a really popular series of commercials at the time, and in my mind I went, “Oh, he’s gonna be good; he obviously got the commercial…” and he was awful, just awful. He wasn’t a comic, he was an actor just, like the girl you mentioned said, “getting his face out there,” and that was when I realized that LA is all about “a look.” It doesn’t matter if you have talent or not, if they need “that look,” you’ll fit their slot and they’ll use you.

JC: [laughs] Yeah, it kills me, and I take offense to that in a way, because this is my livelihood. I’m not doing it to “get my face out there,” this is what I love. But, I’m taking a commercial workshop…

NT: Which means there’s probably someone out there judging you the exact same way.

JC: [laughs] Right. [Adopts a snooty voice] “I do commercials for a living; you comics just do them for quick money…”

NT: When did you start doing comedy?

JC: I’ve been doing comedy for ten years, and moved to Minneapolis about four and a half years ago because of his job at the time. I’ve been doing it full time for about four or five years.

NT: Where did you get your start?

JC: I started in Arizona, in Tucson.

NT: Compare the Tucson and Minneapolis comedy scenes; how did each influence you?

JC: Well, I think they’re really, really different. Now Minneapolis has like five clubs; Tucson has always just has one. When you start out in comedy, there’s always that first little circuit you run, and back then there was a club in Arizona, a club in New Mexico, and a club in Colorado, and you’d do those. When I moved to Minnesota, in the Midwest there’s just so much to do; there are one nighters, so many clubs… when I moved I started working a lot more, which helped me develop. In Tucson, you could only go up one night a week, where in Minneapolis there are just so many more opportunities, and you can find an open mic every night of the week if you want.

NT: So Minneapolis really helped develop you.

JC: Yeah, I was just able to get on stage a lot more.

NT: The CD we’re about to promote, is this your first one?

JC: It’s my first real CD. I made one myself a long time ago, one I would pay people today to get back.

NT: There’s no shame in that, I think we all do it. I have one like that, and even Doug Stanhope has written about watching video of his first few years of comedy and then feeling bad for ripping on people just starting out today that he has ripped on.

JC: When you’re just starting out, you hear that you need one to sell when you go out on the road, and you realize later that was the worst idea ever.

NT: Because you’re putting something out that represents you poorly, leaving people with a bad taste in their mouth. What’s the title of the new CD?

JC: Winner Winner.

NT: The material you used on it: was it an accumulation of your entire ten years?

JC: There’s nothing in there that’s older than four or five years. I get bored really easily, and I don’t like doing the same material over and over, so I’d say there are probably three or four jokes that are four or five years old and the rest is within the past few years. I’m trying to think… there are a couple bits on there that are brand new, which I should have given more time to develop, but I get too excited and just want to do them.

NT: How long is the disc?

JC: I think exactly forty-five minutes, or just a little over.

NT: Break it down for me: what style of comedy do you perform, how many tracks are there… what can the listener expect?

JC: My comedy is a lot of stories, which made it hard to break down the CD. There are twenty-one tracks, and I had a tough time splitting up bits. I have a chunk of hunting material, where I talk about hunting and animals for about five or six minutes, but now I have to break that down and think, “OK, maybe these two jokes work together…” Same thing with my marriage material, which is eight minutes long, but will break down to four or five different tracks. I wasn’t sure exactly how to break them down, or how long the tracks were supposed to be, so I just did the best I could. Tracks three through six all fall within my block of “hunting material,” and it was really hard to break down the story into individual tracks. I think most of the bits I ended up with are around one or two minutes long, but there are a couple tracks that are four minutes, which are each one story I just couldn’t break down any further.

Winner Winner is available through itunes and Amazon.com.

Nathan Timmel was the fella who yapped at her over the phone and typed this little segment up.

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, PUNCHLINE MAGAZINE!

To celebrate five years online, our dear friends at Punchline Magazine are producing two live shows — one in New York and one in Los Angeles — with an incredible cast of not to be missed comedians.

Christian Finnegan will host the New York City installment at Comix comedy club on Oct. 5 with Michael Ian Black, Todd Barry, Hannibal Buress and surprise guests scheduled to appear. Tickets are only $15 and can be purchased here. Get there early and get some free goodies from Comedy Central. Stay late, and get some free Punchline Magazine birthday cake!

For comedy fans in Los Angeles, Greg Proops will host an all-star show featuring the likes of Marc Maron, Maria Bamford, Whitney Cummings and Chris Hardwick.
It’s all going down at Largo on Oct. 11. at 8 pm. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased here.

Buy your tickets online, e-mail proof of purchase to punchlinemagazine@gmail.com and they’ll give you a free 3-month national WiFi subscription, compliments of Boingo.com!

Happy Anniversary, Punchline!