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BOSTON COMEDY FESTIVAL: Submit Now!

Rooftop Comedy is proud to announce that submissions are open for the Boston Comedy Festival through August 15th. Come be a part of this great event, now in its 11th year. What’s in it for you, besides sharing the stage with some of the best comics out there? To start, the BCF is giving away $10,000 in cash prizes for winning comics. Participating comics will also get the opportunity to be seen by top entertainment industry insiders. All comics who apply for the festival can request a special VIP ID that will get them into shows and events with plenty of elbow-rubbing and schmoozing to be had.

Sounds great–what’s next? To submit, you’ll need an unedited 5-minute video of material, a bio, and a headshot. The deadline for submissions is August 15th. Don’t miss out on the chance to perform in this great comedy fest.

COMEDIENNES FLOCK TO JAMESTOWN FOR LUCYFEST

The concept of a comedy festival in Lucille Ball’s legacy was discussed with the honoree, herself, shortly before her death in 1989. Above all other ideas, the festival concept resonated with her as a way to not just preserve her legacy, but showcase emerging talent. This year The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center and Rooftop Comedy will realize that idea by presenting the Lucille Ball Festival of Comedy from August 3-7th in Lucy’s hometown, Jamestown, NY. In addition to 100th birthday celebrations and I Love Lucy tributes, the festival will present a lineup of stand-up legends, including headliners Joan Rivers and Paula Poundstone, as well as rising talent like Tammy Pescatelli and Christina Pazsitzky. Oh, and we invited some guys, too—like Nate Bargatze, Costaki Economopoulos, Andrew Norelli and Lamont Price.

“We know that Lucy and Desi’s intentions were for their legacy to live on in the form of living, breathing comedy that would be as progressive and contemporary as they were,” said Executive Director Journey Gunderson.

Living, breathing, and kicking, the Festival presents comedic icon, Joan Rivers, on Thursday, August 4th at 8pm at the Reg Lenna Civic Center. Rivers was the only guest host to ever appear on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, a host of her own late night show on FOX, winner of an Emmy for her work on daytime television and has 50 years of stand-up experience. Rivers actually co-starred with Lucille Ball in an episode of Here’s Lucy during which the two reportedly had great respect and affinity for one another.

Paula Poundstone, the first woman to ever earn a Cable ACE award for stand-up, joins the Festival lineup as the headlining act on Saturday, August 6th at 8pm at the Reg Lenna Civic Center. Poundstone has two HBO stand-up specials under her belt along with a self-titled show on ABC and numerous appearances on Late Night with David Letterman and Sesame Street. In addition to her chops in stand-up, Poundstone is an accomplished author and a panelist for National Public Radio on the popular program Wait, Wait… Don’t Tell Me. Audiences will enjoy Poundstone’s hilarious take on any subject, from politics to housecats.

The Rooftop Comedy Showcase on Friday, August 5th at 8pm at the Reg Lenna Civic Center will feature Los Angeles comedienne Christina Pazsitzky. Pazsitzky demonstrates her sharp wit not only through performance but writing as well and these talents have helped her gain quick momentum in the comedy world. Pazsitzky has been a writer and regular guest on the E! show Chelsea Lately and was a finalist on Season 6 and 7 of NBC’s Last Comic Standing. While Pazsitzky does perform around the country she has also gone global to entertain the troops in the Middle East, Africa, and South Korea. She represents an important part of this festival and its goals: to showcase not only what’s hot in comedy but also what’s coming.

Pazsitzky recognizes the gravity of being selected to perform in Lucy’s honor and says of the icon, “Lucy is the OG Gangster of comedy. I don’t think there is a more beloved female comedian in history. Lucy was daring. She played a housewife who wanted more and went out and got it. She ignored the limitations of her time. I think that’s what any great comedian does. She also had a thing for Latin guys, which I can relate to.”

The festival has also attracted comedy-veteran, Tammy Pescatelli, who resides nearby in Meadville, PA. Pescatelli was a finalist on Season 2 of NBC’s Last Comic Standing which secured her reputation as one of the funniest women in the comedy world. Tammy has appeared twice as a guest on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and recently was featured in her own special for Comedy Central. Pescatelli’s newest endeavor is starring in WE TV’s A Stand Up Mother where she attempts to balance her family and her growing career with a lot of laughs. Coincidentally, the show was originally pitched as a modern day I Love Lucy, only Tammy is Desi, trying to keep her husband, Luca, out of the act.

Pescatelli looks forward to her involvement in the Festival which includes a performance on Saturday, August 6th at the legendary Tropicana Room. She says, “Like all of America, I love Lucy. The fun is going to be non-stop all weekend, so eat your Vitameatavegamin.”

Want to check out the Lucille Ball Festival of Comedy? Schedule info and all tickets are available at LucyComedyFest.com.

JOHNNY BEEHNER INTERVIEW

Yes, his last name is pronounced exactly like that. Rather than skirt around the issue, Johnny Beehner embraces his last name, which is the source of some of his best material, featured on his debut comedy album, Tiny Wiener. Whether he’s recounting Taco Bell pranks, illicit Olive Garden experiences, or just the funnier side of cat ownership, Johnny has an effortless storytelling style that has been winning crowds over for years. Rooftop caught up with Johnny to talk about brotherly influences, why his sex life is fair game, and how “Taco Man”—one of Tiny Wiener’s stand-out jokes—almost never was.

Rooftop Comedy: Why did you want to record Tiny Wiener at Skyline Comedy Café?

Johnny Beehner: I chose the Skyline because I started in Wisconsin. That club and its brother club in Milwaukee that are booked by the same booker, are kind of where I got my start and I went all the way from emceeing to being a feature to being a headliner at that club and I found out when I was there, [the Skyline Comedy Café] has recorded more comedy albums than any other comedy club, which is a testament to their quality. It was great. The crowds were very fun. I was hoping just to get one show that would be clearly the best and just have that be the CD with a couple of tweaks of fixing the sound, but all the shows were so great I had a hard time deciding.

RT: Your wife is somewhat of a central character on Tiny Weiner. Does she come to your shows a lot?

JB: Yes, she does. She’s a teacher, so she has the summers off, which is nice. So whenever I’m in Milwaukee, she knows more people than I do. She’s so connected so she’ll be bringing in parties of 50 to fill the place, which is good. She comes to the shows and she’s pretty honest as far as feedback after the show. She’ll just be like, “I don’t know if that’s really working…I hope that’s not what happened at the Olive Garden”.

RT: So she’s not too embarrassed when you talk about your sex life?

JB: No, she’s not hiding out.

RT: Tiny Wiener features some choice childhood anecdotes, including a poorly-timed decision to dress up like the Oscar Meyer hot dog. Did your family foster your sense of humor while you were growing up?

JB: I pretty much attribute my whole sense of humor to my older brother Scott, who I always thought was the funniest person. He always made me laugh growing up and I always made him laugh growing up. The first time I ever did stand-up was living with him—he’s about six years older than me—and so the summers between semesters at college I would go live with him. And the first year, which was 1999, he was living in New York, so I was living with him there and that was the first time I ever did stand-up at an open mic and then the next three summers he lived in Los Angeles. So that’s kind of how I got my experience going back and forth with New York and LA was through him. My parents were funny, but Scott was really the one who fed me my hunger for making people laugh.

RT: How was it being a featured on the second season of Last Comic Standing?

JB: Obviously it was eye-opening how the whole thing worked behind the scenes. When you’re in it, you definitely see it differently than people see it at home. It’s a credit. It was the first time I was on TV, so that was just exciting in itself. It’s funny because I wasn’t on it for very long. It was the second season. I was on the final round in Chicago, before they flew them to wherever. On posters or whatever, when I’m at a club, they’ll introduce me as “from Last Comic Standing” and people will say they’ve seen me on Last Comic Standing on a season I wasn’t on or they’ll say they saw my “Taco Man” joke on Last Comic Standing and I didn’t even do that joke on the show. It’s kind of weird.

RT: The Taco Man joke is kind of timeless I guess.

JB: What’s funny is I did that joke in college and it’s all true. Then, when I started doing clubs and I wasn’t quite as good, because in college I was doing it in front of my friends and I had already won them over before I started and I thought, “Taco Man—it’s a long story and nobody cares. It’s not funny to people who don’t know me”. So I didn’t do it for a long time. I think it was my brother who convinced me to just try it and I did. For a long time, that was my closer—it got such a good response. It’s pretty eye-opening how you never know how something is gonna go over until you do it onstage.

RT: Speaking for the Rooftop staff, I’m glad Taco Man has stayed a part of your set.

JB: There are certain bits like that and then there’s the story of the cats, Jack and Eddie, where it’s almost like it’s writing itself. I’d take that to an open mic and just tell the story and it’s done. There’s no polishing. I mean, there’s a little tweaking, but then there’s other bits where you totally gotta rework it every time you go up. It’s frustrating. You obviously want them all to be great right out of the gate. It’s a nice treat when you get one that’s just automatically funny.

“HEART OF DARKNESS” LIVE IN SAN FRANCISCO 8/7

San Francisco, you’re in for a treat. Greg Barris is bringing the deviant hilarity of the Heart Of Darkness from NYC to SF’s Café Du Nord on Sunday, August 7th!

Backed by live band The Forgiveness, the psychedelic stand-­-up show is a visceral experience, featuring cutting-­-edge comedy, mind-­-expanding music, and a scientifically based spiritual ceremony. ‘Whoa’ is right. In the midst of a five-­-month residency at Brooklyn’s Union Hall, where the likes of Reggie Watts, Jim Gaffigan and Janeane Garofalo have performed on the show to sold-­-out crowds, Barris and his bi-­-coastal community of performing misfits are coming to unite San Francisco audiences on a transcendental trip that combines original music and ridiculous insight into the human experience.

Watch the Heart of Darkness trailer:

This Heart Of Darkness will feature the extraordinary comedic talents of Chris Garcia, Emily Heller and Karl Hess. Heart Of Darkness also features appearances by accomplished thinkers to enlighten the audience on topics ranging from transhumanism to the cosmos, and this show’s featured presenter is Columbia University Ethnomusicologist and composer Alexandre Tannous, who will invite the audience in to the world of microtones through an immersive sound ceremony.

Artist and musician Dima Drjuchin (Avrodesign.com/dima/) heads up the house band, which seduces the audiences into the unique show experience. The Forgiveness is a choreographed element that sets the Heart Of Darkness apart from other shows featuring stand-­-up comedy. Instead of appearing solo, each performer becomes a part of the group sound when they join the band on stage. The band backs each comedian up to add color tot heir stories with original music, thus making the Heart Of Darkness one big seamless collaborative party that leaves the freedom for inspired instances of improvisation as the artists involved weave their work together. As the creator, host and curator, Greg Barris invites audiences to open themselves up to expand their minds and appreciate the absurd and hilarious communal experience.

Visit our facebook page this week and enter the Heart of Darkness ticket giveaway for a chance to win two free tickets to the show.

RSVP to the show on the Heart of Darkness Facebook Page

Buy tickets on Ticket Web

Visit Greg Barris’ Website

LUCY FEST INTERVIEW: JAMIE WARD

Lucy Fest Comics

Rooftop Comedy is thrilled to help produce the Lucille Ball Festival of Comedy from August 3-7th in Lucy’s hometown, Jamestown, NY. In addition to 100th birthday celebrations and I Love Lucy tributes, the festival will present a lineup of stand-up legends, like Joan Rivers and Paula Poundstone, and rising stars including Nate Bargatze, Christina Pazsitzky, Costaki Econompoulos, Lamont Price, Jamie Ward, and Justin Schlegel. Schedule info and tickets are available at LucyComedyFest.com.

With Lucy Fest just around the corner, we’ll be publishing interviews with some of the featured comics. Jamie Ward is one of Atlanta’s hottest comics, performing regularly at the renowned Laughing Skull Lounge, and has shared the stage with Natasha Leggero, Ronn White, and more. Winner at this year’s Port City Top Comic Contest, Jamie’s comedy is sharp, witty, with just a speck of niceness.

Rooftop Comedy: How would you describe Lucy’s influence on comedy? Why are you excited to participate in Lucy Fest?

Jamie Ward: Lucy’s influence can only be described as legendary. She was an absolute comedy genius. My sister and I grew up watching old episodes of I Love Lucy, that in my opinion are still hilarious. There are not many “classic” comedy shows that stand the test of time as well.

RT: It’s Lucy’s 100th birthday – what gift would you like to get her?

JW: I’d gather people together to celebrate laughter. I think this Lucy Fest is the most fitting tribute/gift you could give someone. In the short time I’ve been doing comedy, I’ve come to realize there is no greater feeling than sharing laughter with others. There is no object you could give her as a gift that would be more enjoyable.

RT: The Festival will host an attempt to set the Guinness World Record of the most amount of people dressed like Lucy Ricardo. Are you going to participate?

JW: I’d love to participate. I’m going to be pretty busy my short stay, so I’ll have to see if it fits in.

RT: How would you like your own 100th birthday to be celebrated?

JW: For my 100th birthday, I wish for the coherency to perform somewhere, and just enough people who care that I’m alive to share it with.

RT: As Lucy and Desi had hoped, the Lucy-Desi Center has announced a long-term plan to develop a center for comedy including a Comedy Hall of Fame. Who would you propose as the first three inductees?

JW: This is such a hard question. There are so many amazing options so the only way to answer that is pick the three that I look to the most. Steve Martin, Mel Brooks, Bill Hicks.

RT: Any other shows or events that you have this summer that you’d like to share with us?

JW: I’m going to be performing at one of my favorite alternative comedy spots in Atlanta. I’m a special guest on the stand-up showcase at the Basement Theatre on the 28th of July.

NEW ALBUM: Adam Newman’s “Not for Horses”

Rooftop Comedy is proud to announce the debut album from Adam NewmanNot for Horses. Recorded live at Atlanta’s Laughing Skull Lounge in April 2011, Not for Horses is now available for sale on iTunes, Rooftopcomedy.com, and Amazon.

While some people might block a late night zucchini experience from their memory forever, Adam relishes the humor of such odd experiences. Rooftop’s Managing Label Producer Dominic Del Bene says, “Adam has done a great job of pointing out the extraordinary in the ordinary. He has the gift that all great comics have – he takes unique, personal experiences and makes them universal. It’s a privilege to release a record by such a talented comic before everybody in the world knows who he is.” Adam’s life proves to be a terrific source of material, inspiring his dead-on observational style.

Recorded live in his home state of Georgia, Not For Horses showcases his signature brand of quick, witty comedy that has taken him everywhere from the prestigious Just For Laughs Festival in Chicago to the New York Comedy Festival to The Tyra Banks Show. Named one of 2010’s Comics to Watch by Comedy Central and an Andy Kaufman Award Finalist, Adam delivers on his first comedy album and you’ll never be able to look at pickles the same way.


Read a review of Not for Horses from Laugh Spin


Read Ed Palencia’s review on Comedy Reviews

Watch clips from Adam Newman

Visit Adam Newman’s website for upcoming show schedule.

LUCY FEST INTERVIEW: CHRISTINA PAZSITZKY

Rooftop Comedy is thrilled to help produce the Lucille Ball Festival of Comedy from August 3-7th in Lucy’s hometown, Jamestown, NY. In addition to 100th birthday celebrations and I Love Lucy tributes, the festival will present a lineup of stand-up legends, like Joan Rivers and Paula Poundstone, and rising stars including Nate Bargatze, Christina Pazsitzky, Costaki Econompoulos, Lamont Price, Jamie Ward, and Justin Schlegel. Schedule info and tickets are available now.

With Lucy Fest just around the corner, we’ll be publishing interviews with some of the featured comics. You’ve probably seen Christina Pazsitzky on the E! show “Chelsea Lately” and NBC’s ‘Last Comic Standing”. Christina’s sharp and brutally honest comedy makes her one of the hottest acts out there. Look out for Christina’s debut comedy album later this year.

Rooftop Comedy: How would you describe Lucy’s influence on comedy? Why are you excited to participate in Lucy Fest?

Christina Pazsitzky: Lucy is the OG Gangster of comedy. I don’t think there is a more beloved female comedian in history. Lucy was daring. She played a housewife who wanted more and went out and got it. She ignored the limitations of her time. I think that’s what any great comedian does. She also had a thing for Latin guys, which I can relate to. I’m excited to be in Lucy Fest because I hear there will be free hot dogs and beer. That and I love the idea of being a part of the celebration of one of my all time favorite comedians.

RT: It’s Lucy’s 100th birthday – what gift would you like to get her?

CP: She was such a badass. I know she liked to smoke, so a carton of Pall Malls (That’s the brand I imagine she’d like for some reason) and a martini. Oh, and a mink coat. I heard somewhere that she liked mink coats.

RT: The Festival will host an attempt to set the Guinness World Record of the most amount of people dressed like Lucy Ricardo. Are you going to participate?

CP: Not unless they changed the official Lucy costume to sweatpants and a pit-stained t-shirt.

RT: How would you like your own 100th birthday to be celebrated?

CP: I book a cruise with all my friends and family called “My Last Cruise”. We all drink tons and eat buffet, then at the end of the week, I get catapulted into the ocean.

RT: As Lucy and Desi had hoped, the Lucy-Desi Center has announced a long-term plan to develop a center for comedy including a Comedy Hall of Fame. Who would you propose as the first three inductees?

CP: Well, let’s start with Lucy if that’s not a given. Then, Richard Pryor, Roseanne Barr, and Sarah Palin – only if we’re accepting unintentional comedians.

RT: Any other shows or events that you have this summer that you’d like to share with us?

CP: I have a cool podcast called “Your Mom’s House” that you can download on iTunes under “Deathsquad”. I’m also releasing a CD with Rooftop Comedy very soon! It’s tentatively titled “It’s Hard Being a Person”.

MUSIC VIDEO: Stuckey & Murray’s “Internet Feedback”

Take a few minutes out of your Tuesday to check out Stuckey & Murray’s newest music video “Internet Feedback”, recorded live on June 18th at Mercury Lounge in NYC and featuring John Foti on accordion and Nina Mozes on flute.

“Internet Feedback” is a song made up of real comments from real people. S & M took their favorite comments from their Youtube videos and this is the result. They’re 100% real and please comment on their song about comments. So meta!


Download “Internet Feedback” on iTunes
. It’s on their new album Stuckey & Murray Sing the Songs of Stuckey & Murray.

A WORD OF THANKS FROM @MREMILYHELLER


Today is my last day at Rooftop Comedy. I’ve been here for three years, and this has been a wonderful job and a wonderful experience for me. I’m not big on goodbyes, because they are too sad and they make me cry, and crying is for the final season of Friday Night Lights. But I am big on thank yous so here we go!

Big thanks to everyone I’ve worked with, and all the great comics I got to watch on my computer screen. And a big thanks to my boss Colin who put me in the position to have conversations like this, and get paid for it. Looking back on my time here, I think it sums it all up:

2:07:20 PM Chris: ok, so i have them all in a FCP project timeline
2:07:38 PM Chris: i guess we just need to wait for colin to make some final whatever on the order and VO?
2:07:55 PM Emily Heller: okay… do you have the order listed anywhere other than in fcp?
2:08:27 PM Chris: well i just separated them by those categories
2:08:30 PM Chris: in order
2:08:35 PM Chris: which is alphabetical
2:09:45 PM Emily Heller: were you able to get the fart/poo jokes inbetween the fart section and the poo section?
2:10:02 PM Chris: yes
2:10:11 PM Emily Heller: sweet
2:12:40 PM Chris: wait
2:12:46 PM Chris: what is the order again?
2:13:02 PM Chris: bathroom, fart, barf, pee, poo, jizz, gross?
2:13:09 PM Chris: butt
2:13:11 PM Chris: where’s that?
2:15:30 PM Chris: bathroom, period, dick, dick/butt, butt,
2:16:24 PM Emily Heller: and then poo pee jizz fart?
2:16:29 PM Chris: yes
2:16:32 PM Chris: yeah

ADAM NEWMAN INTERVIEW


Rooftop Comedy Productions is proud to release Not For Horses, the debut comedy album from Adam Newman. A hilarious mix of dead-on observational humor and wonderfully quirky insights into pop culture, Not For Horses showcases Adam’s style of comedy—earning him enough buzz to become an Andy Kaufman Award finalist and one of Comedy Central’s Comics to Watch. We chatted with Adam fresh off his shows at Just For Laughs Chicago to discuss what to look for in a unicyclist, how to write a heavy metal song about tapas, and more.

Rooftop: You worked for College Humor as a casting director. Any bizarre casting requests you’d like to share?

Adam Newman: One of the most memorable and surprisingly easiest things I needed to cast was a juggling unicyclist. They were like, “There’s this one scene that’s a cut-away. It cuts to a guy on a unicycle juggling”. I was like, “How in the hell am I going to find that?” Within five minutes, I had four options for juggling unicyclists in New York. There’s just everything in New York. Anything you need to cast is not that hard to find. I had one unicyclist on the phone and there were just so many options. He had different heights of unicycles. He had different things he could juggle. He was like, “Do you want knives? Do you want pins on fire? Do you want a tall unicycle? Do you want a short unicycle?” I am totally unprepared to answer these questions. “Bring options!” I just went with the standard response. Whenever anyone asks, “What should I bring for wardrobe?”, I say “Just bring options”. That’s what I told them to do with the unicycle juggler.

RT: You recently performed at the Just For Laughs Chicago Festival. What was that like?

AN: Just For Laughs Chicago was great. We did a few shows at The Lincoln Lodge. The shows that I was on were the Andy Kaufman Funhouse showcases, which are for finalists and winners of the Andy Kaufman Award. So I actually did all those shows with my friend Trevor Williams. We do these characters called the Nice brothers, which are a bonus track on the album.

During the CD recordings, Trevor and I were in Atlanta—he was co-headlining that weekend with me in Atlanta. During the day, we were actually just playing basketball together and we got a phone call from the Andy Kaufman people, asking if we’d go to Chicago to do these showcases. We were doing this really fun co-headlining weekend together and while we were doing that we got asked to do the Just For Laughs Chicago Festival. That was a pretty good weekend for us.

RT: The Nice brothers have become somewhat of a staff favorite at the Rooftop office. No one can say “nice” without a thick New Jersey accent.

AN: It’s one of those things where, even for me, every time I say the word “nice”, I feel like I’m doing the character. I have to remind myself that I used to say the word “nice” before those characters existed. It’s a normal word that people say. It’s funny that you say that because Trevor came up with the original idea. He and a buddy used to work in an office and they would just fake name-drop everybody they saw over the weekend. They’d be like, “You know who I saw this weekend? Steven Seagal”. “Nice”. Then Trevor brought it to me to pitch as a character. Pretty much I added all the puns and a little bit more douchebaggery to the characters.

RT: How long have you and Trevor been collaborating?

AN: As far as us doing characters together, I never would have done characters if it wasn’t for Trevor. Pretty much what happened was Trevor was in the bathroom and I heard Trevor in the shower and he was singing “Asses and dick. Asses and dick. You’re entering a world of asses and dick”. That’s what Trevor was singing in the shower and I’m a metal guitar dork and I picked up my guitar and wrote a riff to go along with that and that started our first character duo, called Über Lüber Death Metal, a super effeminate death metal duo. So we wrote a song called “Asses and Dick” and we wore executioner masks and shoulder pads and make-up and all this metal stuff, but then the schtick was we pulled off the masks after the song and we’d be like, “Oh my god! That was so scary!” And that’s how me and Trevor started doing characters. Later we decided we didn’t want it to be so vulgar, so we changed “Asses and Dick” to “Tapas and Drinks”. “You’re entering a world of tapas and drinks”. It was about us going out and getting tapas and drinks.

RT: Is there any Über Lüber Death Metal still online?

AN: Yeah, there’s a pretty primitive Über Lüber video online right now. It’s a music video for a song we did called “Hair Nightmare”. We shot it in a hair salon. This was when we had no production value to anything. The song was actually a song we recorded with a friend in Athens. The song sounds great. It’s me on guitar and a drum machine and Trevor singing. It sounds great. The video’s just done with a crappy camera in a hair salon and some cheesy effects. It’s me and Trevor as these death metal guys helping a guy get over his hair nightmare.

Rooftop Comedy Productions will release Not For Horses on July 26th. You can order your presale copy now on iTunes.

Posted: July 13th, 2011 under Cool stuff from Rooftop Comedy, Interview, rooftop comedy productions.
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