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And yet another tip from your Uncle Lar

Guest interview by Jason Tanamor of Zoiks! Online.

And yet another tip from your Uncle Lar.
By Jason Tanamor

“You know what makes good crowds? Funny Comedians. That’s a tip from your uncle Lar.”

Another tip from Uncle Lar is this. “Everyone should drink. Alcohol is taxed and the money goes to schools,” Reeb said. “So drink up. You’re not a drunk, you’re an education provider.”

Larry Reeb, better known across stages as Uncle Lar, dishes out tips and one-liners to audiences throughout the United States. “I was working at an amusement park in the day, while I did stand-up at night,” Reeb said. “Everyone working there was like 15, so they started calling me Uncle Lar. On stage, after a joke I threw in, ‘That’s a tip from your Uncle Lar,’ and it stuck.”

Having said this, Larry Reeb does have jokes with his advice. In fact, he mixes up each show with new material. “I just do my thing but if it’s an older crowd I will clean it up a little bit,” Reeb said. And if he doesn’t think the material is working, he has a unique way of parting with the less than spectacular jokes. “I try a new joke 4 or 5 times. I try wording it in different ways then if it still doesn’t work, I sell it to a new comedian.”

He’s kidding of course. Unless there are some takers.

Read the rest of the interview, after the jump!

Saturday Night Rejection

Guest Post from Keith Alberstadt.

This season of “Saturday Night Live” ended a couple of weeks ago. Back in August, after a written submission tryout, I was asked to be a freelance writer for Weekend Update. Given that it was an election year and that I was turned down in ’07, I was thrilled beyond words. I even called my old English professor and told him to suck it.

It was a blast to do–the SNL thing, not telling off the professor, although that was fun too even if it was the wrong number and I made an old woman cry.

Here’s how it worked…Every week there was a show, I would turn in ten jokes (that was the limit) based on current events. But (sigh) they used not a single one of mine the whole year. The whole damn year! It was so demoralizing, I honestly felt a bit nervous and ashamed when asking Lorne Michaels for an invitation to the end of the year after-party.

I hear 100% rejection is actually par for the course for freelancers, so I’m not too bummed about it. Furthermore, I heard from a comic who works at SNL that a few of my gems actually made the first couple of cuts to reach the “Alt List” a few times before finally being shown to the trash. So I almost reached my goal. That makes me feel like the LeBron James of comedy writing. If I keep that up, someday people might say that I write jokes better than Michael Jordan.

There are seriously no hard feelings toward SNL. I will of course try out again this summer. In the meantime, I have to apologize to Old Woman Erma in Nashville.

Mitch Fatel is the muffin man

Guest interview by Jason Tanamor of Zoiks! Online.

Mitch Fatel is the muffin man.
By Jason Tanamor

“I just love being creative. Whether it’s writing an article for Playboy, answering interview questions, writing a sitcom or a Tonight Show correspondence piece, anything that involves creating something that wasn’t there a few moments ago, I embrace.”

This is what Mitch Fatel, comedian and all around good guy, says about whatever it is he’s doing. Zoiks! Online had the chance to sit down with him for a quick Q&A.

Question – At what age did you start your comedy career?

Fatel – I started doing comedy when I was 15 years old. I used to go on stage in my pajamas and say that I had to get up early for school the next day. That was the funniest thing I said, after that it was all downhill and fast. After my first show ever I asked my mom how I did and she said, ‘Let’s face it Mitch, you died.’ So, of course, with support like that, how could you not continue to pursue a career? Actually the next CD or DVD I put out is going to have audio footage of some shows I did when I was 15. We thought the tapes were lost but my friend just found them in his barn upstate where I had stored them years ago. They are truly “the lost tapes.”
Read the rest of the interview, after the jump!

New Show, New Adventure

Guest Post from Keith Alberstadt.

I was recently invited to participate in Byron Allen’s new project entitled “comedy.tv”. It was a big surprise to get the call, especially since in my emails to the producers, I kept calling him Brian Allen. I felt like my mom, who calls comics things like Kathy Mandarin (Kathleen Madigan), Jack Jergensen (Jake Johannsen), and Bill Saguine (possibly Conan O’Brien).

The only bad thing about this whole experience was the timing. I got the invite Thursday last week and had to be in LA Sunday. A trip cross country, connecting in Detroit, sitting in the middle seat between two middle-aged women who laugh out loud at the in-flight movie “Bridal Wars”. . . All of these things are tolerable. What’s not is finding a reasonably-priced plane ticket with only two days notice.

The best rate I could find was $410 which I paid for with 10,000 shares of GM stock. But it was well worth it.

Forty-two comics doing six minutes each. Of course not everyone stuck to six minutes, because there’s still a mentality of “hey, I’m killing so that red light in the back of the room can suck it”. But overall it was amazing. Events like this are fun because it’s like a comedy convention. Comics from all over can catch up on what they’re doing, where they’ve been, and which comedy condos have been de-loused lately.

I wish we had more time to hang out. But the time that was spent was awesome. I can’t wait to see the finished project.

For Drew Hastings, comedy is a pain

Guest interview by Jason Tanamor of Zoiks! Online.

For Drew Hastings, comedy is a pain.
By Jason Tanamor

“I don’t write jokes, per se. I’ve always considered my time on stage to be a one sided conversation where the audience isn’t allowed to talk.” This is what comedian Drew Hastings believes stand-up comedy is all about. “It comes naturally and there is no process. I should work on it, but I’m really good at avoidance. In fact, I’m so good at running away from my life, I should stretch beforehand.”

Although he jokes about his life, his act, and, in this case, his interviews, Hastings’ life and his rise to comedic stardom is far from a joke. This, of course, is coming from a man who didn’t start doing stand-up comedy until the age of 31, after partaking in a myriad of career choices including owning a small trucking business, a records/document shredding company, and scalping tickets to rock concerts. “My trucking and storage business had gotten bigger and more complex, and I had partners to answer to, government regulations to adhere to. Basically, I morphed from being an entrepreneur to an administrator,” said Hastings. “I thought, I’m going to turn 50 and have a heart attack behind my desk while comparing insurance plans. So, I sold my part of the business and just started comedy full time. Everybody thought I was crazy.”

Read the rest of the article, after the jump!

Henry Cho doesn’t have to be super famous to be remembered

Guest interview by Jason Tanamor of Zoiks! Online.

Henry Cho doesn’t have to be super famous to be remembered.
By Jason Tanamor

You may not recognize Henry Cho by looking at him, but once he talks it may jog your memory. That’s because the comedian, who looks every bit Asian, has a southern accent. The two kind of make a person shake his head at first. But once Cho gets-a talkin,’ you’ll soon remember him any time his name comes up. That’s because he’s one of the funniest comedians working today. Cho recently sat down with Zoiks! Online to talk life, comedy, and Asian stereotypes.

Q – You’re an Asian with a southern accent. The reason I ask this is because I’m an Asian with a Midwestern accent. Do you think it’s harder being an Asian comedian with a southern accent than an Asian comedian with an Asian accent?
A – It’s not easy being a comedian in any case, but having a southern accent sets me apart from not only all other Asian comedians, from all comedians. I remember Garry Shandling a few years back saying that I stand out so much, in people’s minds after they see me, I don’t have to be super famous for people to remember me. The added plus, in my opinion, on having a southern accent is it’s easy to listen to. Folks in the south sit on the porch and tell stories – easy to sit around and listen to someone from the south, as opposed to an accent from Brooklyn.

Q – So, there are Asian stereotypes like bad driving and being great at Math, and southern stereotypes like lack of teeth and incest. What stereotypes would you say you fall into?
A – I didn’t know about the driving thing until I moved to L.A. years ago. Some loser asked me from the stage if I was a good driver. I told him where I come from me and my dad were the only Asian guys driving there. Neither of us had ever had an accident, and all the bad drivers I knew were white. I’m smart cause I’m Korean, I’m not so smart cause I’m from the south. They cancel each other out, so I’m even.

Q – Does your material change based on the area in which you perform?
A – Not really, there are a couple jokes I can do in say San Francisco that I won’t do in Chicago or Atlanta, but I don’t go about it any differently just cause I’m in a different region.

Q – The only other Asian comics I know are Chinaman, Esther Ku and Margaret Cho. Is there just NOT a stand-up comedy booth at the Asian career fair?
A – I only know Margaret of those three. There are a few more but only a handful. There will be no booth ever at the career fair, it’s just not the art form considered worthy in the Asian community.

Read the rest of the interview, after the jump!

Derby Names

Guest Post from Keith Alberstadt.

I’m in Lexington, KY this weekend, where people are getting excited for the Kentucky Derby. They also go crazy for basketball in this part of the country. I believe it’s only a matter of time before some Kentucky resident combines horse racing and basketball to form a new hybrid sport. Like when someone put tennis together with picnics to make Ping Pong. Or when they merged soccer with yawning to create the art of watching soccer.

But unlike David Beckham’s salary, the Kentucky Derby is no laughing matter. There are big hats on the ladies, big wagers from the men, and big glasses of the fanciest drink I’ve ever tasted…the mint julep. Hard to believe that a state that fueled the mullet craze can make a drink that requires garnish. What a country!

I have learned that a proper mint julep consists of crushed ice, fine Kentucky whiskey, and enough sugar to give Seabiscuit half a dozen cavities. The purpose of such a drink, of course, is to give yourself such a headache the next day that you forget how you lost your kid’s college fund betting a trifecta box.

Read the rest, after the jump!

New Personal Record for Worst Gig

Guest Post from one of the Beards of Comedy, Joe Zimmerman.

Well, I set my new personal record on Friday, for worst gig I’ve ever performed at. I was asked to perform in an “auditorium” for “500 students” at American University. It was a Relay for Life benefit for the American Cancer Society, and they offered me $150. Okay, so good cause, good university, auditorium with 500 students, and I’m open that night, sounds good!

When I arrived, the “auditorium” was Bender Arena, which is a gym, not an auditorium. Critical difference between the two – the primary difference being, auditorium’s have stages, while gym’s have basketball courts. The event organizer was really nice and cheery, and didn’t look a day out of high school. I knew that the Relay for Life was a walk, but it never occurred to me that the majority of the “audience” would be walking, while I performed. I just assumed that no one would hire a comedian to perform for people who are walking. It’s never good to assume though – I learned this in grade school.

She initially asked me to perform at a podium, which was directly in the path of the walkers. Not wanting to be high maintenance, I asked, “Do you think that’s the best spot? Given that people will have to walk around me?” She then reconsidered, and asked me to perform center court, in the middle of the walking circle. Mmkay.

I was to follow a dance team – also not good – but I hadn’t given up. My plan was to find a way to make it work. My introduction didn’t help matters. I had been asked to email my intro a week in advance, so given the lead time, I thought they were really gonna nail it. The DJ cut off the Beyonce song and said, “Alright, this next guy is on tour with (long pause) the Beards of Comedy? He’s just coming from (long pause) the Detroit Comedy Festival? Whatever that means…Joel (long pause) Zimmer.”

Mmkay, thanks DJ. ‘Preciate you taking the time to memorize the ten word intro. Also, “whatever that means”? Really DJ? It means that I just came from the Detroit Comedy Festival, like it says.
The rest, plus pictures, after the jump!

Cat Stevens “Knows a Lot of Fancy Dancers,” huh?

Guest Post from the best stand-up in Chicago 2008, Robert Buscemi.

So I’m supposed to be ALL IMPRESSED that CAT STEVENS “knows a lot of fancy dancers”?

Why is that such a big deal? He doesn’t even say HOW he knows them. And he says it so matter-of-factly, in such a passing manner, like the rest of us will be all impressed and give him things.

Like … give him things he would like, you know? Like a fancy braidworked leather guitar strap for his acoustic modern-day poet stringed siren-song maker, and the strap has these beautiful inlaid beads and little glinty diamanelles, and even some turquoise so it looks Southwestern.

Just because Cat knows a lot of fancy dancers I’m going to buy him one of those straps? Or commission one of these babies to be made for him? That’s gotta be like 150 bucks minimum, to get one fancy enough to please Mr. Acoustic himself, Mr. “Saturday Night and I Ain’t Got Nobody!” (except for his gd FANCY DANCERS, huh?)

The rest, after the jump!

Well, Hair We Are!

Guest post from the funny TJ Young (who was also our first Funny Title Here interviewee) writing about venturing with his group, The Beards of Comedy to the NYC Beard and Mustache Championships – Paolo

A Beards of Comedy postcard from the NYC Beard & Mustache Championships
by TJ Young

Beards of Comedy (L to R) Dave, Andy, TJ & Joe

Beards of Comedy (L to R) Dave, Andy, TJ & Joe

In a city like New York, nothing is ‘shocking’…well, nothing except three large, bearded comedians packed in a Toyota Prius. At least that’s what the “Beards of Comedy” found out earlier this month. The natives couldn’t stop staring. Driving up to the big city, three of the four ‘Beards’ (Dave Stone, Andy Sandford & TJ Young) were on our way to one of the most unique shows we’ve ever booked…the NYC Beard and Mustache Championships…held in the heart of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, NY.

Beginning at 8pm Saturday, March 14th the event featured a ZZ Top cover band, a Burlesque Troop, a fabulous Banjo player, a GREAT bearded band from Charlotte, NC called “The New Familiars” and the Beards of Comedy (minus Joe Zimmerman who had a previous engagement). All this bearded bliss would last well into Sunday (4am) with several categories of facial hair judging mixed in between changeovers. The night would get ‘hairy’ for sure, we just didn’t know how hairy and whether that was a good or bad thing.
Read the rest, after the jump!