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Top Five with Jason Downs

Top Five is a column in which we talk to stand up comics who have released their own album about their five favorite comedy albums of all time.

It’s been a while since we here at Rooftop got to welcome Jason Downs back home to San Francisco! We last got a chance to catch up with him when his album, Excessive Talking, was released and he’s been a busy man ever since! Moving and shaking in the City of Angels now, he’s getting his generous share of acting work, from Super Bowl and other NFL commercial spots to performing on NBC’s Last Comic Standing! He continues to keep stand up part of world though, including being featured in our city’s premiere comedy festival, SF SketchFest! His brand of enthusiastic energy circling around real situations he comes across has made him a desired act for any show! You can catch him during SF SketchFest performing with the likes of Mike Lawrence and Dan St. Germain on February 5th and in the lineup to the fantastic Rude City Comedy Show on February 6th! While giving him the warm hello he deserves he shared a list of his favorite comedy albums and specials to our blogger-in-residence that helped shape the state of the modern stand up world.


Chris Rock – Roll with the New (1997)

Every ten years or so an iconic comedy album is released that demands the public’s attention, that’s Roll with the New. After the boom and bust of the comedy golden age of the late 1980’s/early 90’s, stand up was slowly dying, then came this masterpiece. After his brief stint on S.N.L., many considered him a flop and Rock’s career was in trouble. Rock’s HBO special Bring the Pain and this album version, Roll with the New was his comeback. The now classic bits Ni**as Vs. Black People to O.J., I Understand, Rock wrote, rewrote, performed, and honed this act to create the last iconic comedy album of our time.


Jerry Seinfeld – I’m Telling You for the Last Time (1998)

Bring up the greats of stand up comedy and you will hear names like Kinison, Pryor, and Carlin. But, Jerry Seinfeld’s name is often unjustly left out of the conversation. I’m Telling You for the Last Time is the first attempt by a stand up comedian to walk the tightrope, while at the same time, striping the rope to make the rope thinner and thinner by recording and broadcasting it live on HBO. Seinfeld is an absolute craftsman, master of his domain, and that domain is stand up. There are many masterful jokes on this album, but the Olympics bit is one of the greatest well-finessed bits ever performed. Seinfeld proves that to get laughs you don’t have to be a self-deprecating goofball (not that there’s anything wrong with that), but rather you can be hilarious by using your sheer wit and cleverness.


Maria Bamford – Burning Bridges Tour (2003)

Maria Bamford does what everybody else simply cannot do. On the Burning Bridges Tour, Bamford uses her remarkable talent for characters and scene development and organically takes us to an abstract, gooey world: a bent reality, all without breaking our suspension of disbelief. Many wonder why Bamford was never cast on S.N.L., the simple answer: she is just too big, too much, too intense for S.N.L.


Doug Stanhope – Deadbeat Hero (2004)

Doug Stanhope: part philosopher, part prophet, part twisted human being; a modern day Hunter S. Thompson minus the gunshot wound to the head. Stanhope’s talent is taking taboo subjects others can’t seem to mine for gold, walk into the mine empty handed, and walk back out covered head to toe in a gold-plated suit of armor. On Deadbeat Hero, everything is funny, nothing is off limits, and swearing is nothing to shy away from. Stanhope taught me a lesson in comedy I’ll never forget; never trust a comic who doesn’t swear, i.e. Bill Cosby.


George Carlin – Classic Gold (1972-73)

George Carlin’s Classic Gold is really three albums, AM:FM, Class Clown, Occupation: Foole, in one, packaged together as a double disc. Classic Gold displays Carlin’s talents not just as a master of stand up comedy, but a master of many different forms of stand up. On the first album, AM:FM, Carlin performs, by today’s standards, an alt comedy set, weaving in and out of one man sketches. With the second and third album, Carlin begins to evolve into the socially conscious comedian we would recognize before his passing. Class Clown’s, Muhammad Ali is one of the best single jokes ever told, full of dense words, rebellion and injustice. Finally, Occupation: Foole features the famous 7 words you can never say on television chunk that would later become the subject of a Supreme Court ruling, making this collection not just funny but part of United States history.


Make sure to check out Jason Downs at the 2015 SF SketchFest on February 5th with Mike Lawrence and Dan St. Germain and on February 6th with the Rude City Comedy Show. Jason Downs’ album, Excessive Talking, was released on February 18th, 2014 on Rooftop Comedy Productions. It is available on Amazon, iTunes, and Bandcamp.

Watch a Clip from Matt Braunger’s All-New Special

As anyone who has performed at a comedy show or even just attended a comedy show, bachelorette parties are a powerful force. Just one appletini too many and the party becomes the unintended center of the show. Even so, as Matt Braunger, points out here, there’s something innately funny about bachelorette parties–what with their “penis accoutrements” as Matt puts it. Check out this new clip from his upcoming Comedy Central special, Shovel Fighter. Matt’s one seriously funny guy and we can’t wait to watch his new material. Shovel Fighter premieres July 14, 11pm on Comedy Central.

Comedy Central Stand-Up
Get More: Jokes,Joke of the Day,Funny Jokes

Matt Braunger to Debut Hour-Long Special on July 14

Longtime Rooftop Comedy friend Matt Braunger will premiere his first hour-long special next month on Comedy Central. Filmed at the Gramercy Theatre in New York, Matt Braunger: Shovel Fighter will undoubtedly showcase Matt’s knack for inventive wit and hilarious physicality. We’ve been longtime fans of Matt, who won Best of the Fest at the 2008 Aspen Rooftop Comedy Festival. We could sing praises for Matt all day, what with his innovative Taco Bell ad ideas and Lil Wayne insight. Matt has garnered many a credit, taking his comedy to TV (Up All Night, Pushing Daisies, Chelsea Lately) and comedy festivals (Just For Laughs, SXSW, Bridgetown Comedy Festival co-founder). Shovel Fighter premieres on Comedy Central at 11pm ET.


This week, Chad Daniels is going for somewhat of a comedy hat trick. Today marks the release of his all-new hour-long special As Is as well as his CD You’re the Best. Chad will also be performing on Conan tonight. He’s debuting his hour-long special with Laughspin and it looks great. You can watch Chad’s full, uncensored special below, after the jump. Let us know what you think!


The month of May just got a whole lot busier for Hannibal Buress. The Chicago-bred, NYC-residing comic will release both a new CD and Comedy Central TV special this month, with more bonus and extras than you can probably handle. Buress, renowned for his deadpan wit and passion for McGriddles, will debut his hour-long TV special, Hannibal Buress: Animal Furnace, on May 20. If that’s not enough Hannibal for you, don’t worry. First, run out to the grocery store to stock up on apple juice (they’re having a sale). Then, on May 22, Animal Furnace will be released on CD as well as DVD with plenty of bonus content to boot. We’ll be posting clips from the TV special as they become available. Hannibal is indeed staying busy these days, having won the Best Club Comic title at this year’s Comedy Awards and stepping into the co-host chair on Adult Swim’s The Eric Andre Show.

Enjoy this clip from Hannibal performing at the Rooftop Aspen Comedy Festival:


In this very special installment of a Tight 5ive, Punchline Magazine’s Dylan Gadino interviews comedian Hannibal Buress.

Filmed on location at the Aspen Rooftop Comedy Festival, Hannibal discusses his writing gig with Saturday Night Live, his life on the college comedy circuit, and his future in stand up comedy. Watch the interview.


A funny on the fly interview with comedians Moshe Kasher and Hari Kondabolu at the Aspen Rooftop Comedy Festival from Punchline Magazine’s Dylan Gadino.


Photos from Day 2 of this year’s Aspen Rooftop Comedy Festival by Christina Capasso and Steve Mundinger. You can check out the rest of the photos on our facebook page.

The Wheeler Opera house crowd

Emerson’s Rachel Walls at the NCCC Semi Finals.

Nick Thune at La Cantina.

NCCC Funny Filmmakers Reggie, Nick, and Diego.

Rooftop Staffer’s Sara, Annie, and Jen at Zane’s Tavern.

Boston in the house! Emerson’s Keele Howard-Stone and Best of Fest Winner Kelly MacFarland at Zane’s Tavern.

Jen, Erin Jackson, Annie, and Jermaine Fowler at the Kick Off show pre-party.

Curls just want to have fun. Alex Koll with Ryan Singer.

Xavier University’s Andrew Short.


We’d like to congratulate Kelly MacFarland for being voted “Best of the Fest” at the 2010 Aspen Rooftop Comedy Festival.

Voted on by live audience members at the Wheeler Opera House in Aspen, Co, “Best of the Fest” is awarded to the single most entertaining comic performing at the Aspen Rooftop Comedy Festival. Kelly shares this award with 2008 BOF winner Matt Braunger and 2009 BOF winner Moshe Kasher.

Watch Kelly’s My One Yoga Complaint


Mirror, mirror on the wall. Who’s the funniest twitterer of them all?

Announcing the 2010 Rooftop Comedy Twitter award!

There are so many darn funny comics on twitter, we need your help deciding who the funniest twitterer on twitter is. That’s officially the most I’ve ever typed the word “twitter” over the course of three sentences.

Vote for your favorite funny twitterer by posting @RooftopComedy and the @Nominee on your Twitter page. (For example: @RooftopComedy @Gallagher2)

The winner will be announced at the 2010 Aspen Rooftop Comedy Festival!

And the nominees are:

• Paul F. Tompkins (@pftompkins)
• Aziz Ansari (@azizansari)
• Doug Benson (@DougBenson)
• Rob Huebel (@robhuebel)
• Eugene Mirman (@eugenemirman)
• Natasha Leggero (@natashaleggero)
• Michael Ian Black (michaelianblack)
• Lizz Winstead (@lizzwinstead)
• Rob Delaney (@robdelaney)
• Paul Scheer (@paulscheer)