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MOVIE REVIEWS: “50/50″ and “The Ides of March

October is an interesting month for movies. September is usually the dumping ground of shit films and November is when awards-season films start premiering across the country. So, October is a mix of both.

“50/50″ and “The Ides of March” are my two favorite movies I’ve seen this month and, I believe, the films you should go see now instead of crap like “The Three Musketeers” (hasn’t this movie been made, literally, a million times? I swear. I’m going to go look on IMDB [10 seconds late] Oh, I’m sorry. ONLY 29.) and “Paranormal Activity” (you are aware it’s the same movie, right? Like, almost literally the same movie. You’re paying good money to see the same movie for a third time.)

“50/50″ – A powerful indie film about friendship, love, and cancer. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays the title character, a man diagnosed with cancer. His mother, played by the amazing Angelica Huston, is the next best part of this film. I think almost everyone has had this mother: she freaks out over everything and loves you too much.

Levitt’s character, Adam, is forced through more turmoil after he finds out his girlfriend (Bryce Dallas Howard) is cheating on him. That leaves his therapist, Anna Kendrick, and best friend, Seth Rogen to help him out.

Levitt is phenomenal in this film and holds everything together. It has to be difficult to make a comedy with cancer as the centerpiece, but with him as the lead, it works very well.

It’s nice to see Kendrick getting more great roles and breaking out of the “Twilight” hell she is still in. It’s odd that, out of everyone from those movies, she’ll probably have the most longevity as an actress.

And then there’s Seth Rogen. I use to like Seth Rogen. Hell, I defended him to my friends who hated him. But now, I don’t like him. I get it, Seth: you like pot. You like talking about it. You like smoking it. You like talking about it while you smoke it. Please, let’s move on. I think he could do some great work if he had a director who challenged him. Right now, all his reactions are the same. He acts the same way in every movie. P.T. Anderson showed the world that Adam Sandler could, in fact, act. Let’s get him in an Anderson film and see what happens.

But, Rogen aside, it’s a fantastic film that is worth your money. Please, give money to this film. Hell, if you want to see “Paranormal Activity 15,” fine, but pay for a ticket to “50/50″ and hop over to it.


“The Ides of March” – If you don’t like political thrillers that are wordy and require you to pay attention to details, then go see shitty movies like “The Three Musketeers” or “Paranormal Activity 56.” George Clooney proves, again, why he is one of the top actors in the world and, one of the top directors.

Clooney plays a nominee for the Democratic Presidential ticket. His closets aides are Philip Seymour-Hoffman and the ever so dreamy, Ryan Gosling.

Gosling is a young guy with clear and good ideals. He wants politicians to be nice and clean and love Americans more than corporations. That’s why he is with Clooney. But, as the film goes on, he learns quickly that once you’re a politician, you’re always a politician.

It’s a fantastic film that I recommend you seeing. It’s main issue is simple: who is hotter, Clooney or Gosling? It’s hard for me to decide, because I look like a spitting image of George Clooney. It’s uncanny. Yet, part of me wants to go with Gosling. Is this because I think it’s weird to want to have sex with myself (Clooney)?

Follow Mark Potts on Twitter
We may never know.


Our newest album release, “Escape from Halcatraz”, by Hal Sparks has been reviewed by Ed Placencia over at Comedy Reviews. Here’s a teaser:

If Bobby Slayton is “The Pitbull of Comedy” then I think it’s fair to call Hal Sparks “The Pomeranian of Punchlines.” I admit that may not sound like the most flattering of comparisons, but it’s not meant to be a criticism or putdown. Where Slayton is rough, gruff, and comes right at you, on his new album Escape From Halcatraz Sparks is full of happy energy with a manic desire to please. He desperately wants to entertain and he pours everything he has into telling a story, his excitedness turning into yippy fits that wreak havoc on his throat (I can imagine vocal coaches everywhere cringing as they listen to Sparks destroy his voice with his uncontrolled-yet-strained shrieks, wails, and attempts at an operatic falsetto).

Read the rest of the review at the Comedy Reviews site.

Pick up Escape from Halcatraz on iTunes.


The great reviews keep on rolling in for Adam Newman debut album, Not for Horses.

First there was Ed Placencia’s review, followed by a glowing review on Laughspin, and now entertainment blog Under the Gun has chimed in.

Here’s a teaser of the review written by UTG’s comedy writer Angie Frissore.

“Newman’s material is not only hilarious and well-timed, but also personal. Each of his jokes shows you a glimpse of Newman’s true personality – and this openness instantly generates a huge amount of likability that keeps you eager for more.”

Read the rest of the review on Under the Gun

Pick up your copy of Not for Horses

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,, 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.


I wanted to love Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon. I really, really did. It even starts off pretty awesome, with some revisionist history about the Apollo 11 moon landing actually a cover for searching an Autobot’s ship crash landing on the moon.

There are a few cheesy lines, mainly being a NASA scientist asking Neil Armstrong, right after Armstrong told him about the aliens and the ship, “We’re not alone, are we?” Armstrong responds, “No, we are not.” A better response would have been, “Fuck no, dude! I just told you the crazy shit I saw. We’re you not fucking listening? I’m on the fucking moon looking at fucking weird alien shit. Well, robot aliens. Fuck! I have no fucking clue what I am looking at, but yeah. Let me ask your overly-dramatic question with: fuck no, we are not alone. Hey, asshole, I’m on the fucking moon, with fucking aliens. You’re on Earth in air conditioning, surrounded by scientists with huge boners. Leave the rhetorical shit behind while I try not to shit myself.”

Michael Bay attempts to give us some sort of story or plot with the film, but it doesn’t really materialize. Based on the gagillion dollars the film made, I’m going to assume you’ve seen it. If not, then everything I say won’t make sense. But even if you saw it, it wouldn’t make much more sense.

After Transformers 2, Bay was accused of using excess as a way of hiding the lack of story or plot. So what does he do this time around? He doesn’t even try to give a story or plot. 2 was bogged down with a crazy story and crazy ideas with little or nothing tying the ideas together. This time around, Bay is like, “you know what? Screw it. Make shit blow up real good and we’ll go home rich.”

I’m a huge Bay fan and apologist. Until now. Any shit he gets for 3 is, probably, warranted. The guy is still the expert at making shit blow up and making it look really, really good. But nothing else makes sense. “Oh, we gotta get up high to shoot a rocket at a building? Let’s use the building that is already falling down!”

“Oh, Optimus Prime uses huge metal swords and rockets but can get trapped in Earth-based construction cables. Why not?”

“We need a new actress? Let’s get a model that has never acted before! Boobies!”

“Let’s have Chicago get destroyed but NEVER EXPLAIN WHY THE ROBOTS GO THERE TO BEGIN WTIH.”

“Sam Witwicky can Parkour now? Cool!”

Nothing makes sense. And it makes matters worse when 90% of the dialoge is trying to explain things. It’s just one scene doing its best to make sure the next scene makes some sort of sense.

I know, these movies shouldn’t be about story, but about robots blowing shit up real good. Well, they do blow shit up real good. The action scenes are awesome. The windsurfer sequences are amazing to see and about the only reason to really see this movie in 3D (otherwise, the 3D really doesn’t bring anything to the movie.) But it’s hard to really, really care when nothing makes sense. Like the last hour of Transformers 2. There are some amazing action set pieces there, but I have no clue why they are happening and so, I do not care.

Nothing makes sense, really, and that is why this film fails. I say you should go see it with some friends and have some beers. It’s worth seeing just to see some awesome action. But maybe wait until it is in a dollar theater. Or if you want to see it quicker, don’t by the 3D premium.

Like I said, I wanted to love this movie. I wanted to say “Haha! Bay, haters! Suck that exploding dick that just went in your butt and our your head!” But I cannot. Bay needs someone to rope him down and more importantly, read his scripts.

Here is a sample page from Transformers 3.


Shit blows up.

SAM WITWICKY – Why is shit blowing up?

RANDOM PERSON – So we have to go up this building!

SAM – Oh, okay!

RANDOM PERSON 2 – Once we get in that building, we can save the world!


Shit blows up in the building.

SAM – This building was a bad choice!

RANDOM PERSON – I know! We needed to get higher to save the world!

SAM – Oh no, the building is falling down!

RANDOM PERSON – The building is falling down because of Decepticons!

RANDOM PERSON 2 – Decepticons are bad guys!

SAM – If we let the Decepticons win, we lose!

RANDOM PERSON – Losing is bad!

So, yeah. How can I get that job? That asshole writer is rich.


Originally published by Punchline Magazine
Review by John Delery

Luckily, the armistice in the war of words these days muzzles our combative Congress, not comedians. Even luckier for us humor-hungry civilians, our irascible representatives have yet to enact fun-control laws, thereby not depriving the rabble of Auggie Smith and other amusing agitators like him.

From his post onstage, Smith, dedicated protector of our unalienable rights to laughs, liberty and the pursuit of happiness every !@%&@ second of our !@%&@ lives, freely unloads on the charlatans and idiots who’ve made the mistake of ending up in his comic crosshairs (sorry, Sarah Palin, we mean comic surveyor symbols).

Unlike the working dead — spiritless adults who every weekday robotically wake up, get up and show up at monotonous jobs — Smith sounds like he has tons o’ fun at work. The point of becoming a comedian, agreed? You sense it in his Lewis Black lite attitude (inflamed but not spontaneously combustible) and hear it in his voice (peeved but not postal) on Smell the Thunder, his equally derisive, incisive and clever new CD from Rooftop Comedy Productions.

Visit Punchline Magazine to read the rest of the review.

Follow Punchline Magazine on twitter.


By DNA, Punchline Magazine

It must be lonely inside Nick Griffin’s head—one can easily envision his gray matter taking the form of a desolate hotel room scattered with fast food wrappers, empty bottles of booze and dog-eared copies of Playboy; then there’s the flickering television screen.
Lucky for us, Griffin has devoted his life to stand-up and so we barely have to rely on our imagination for a snapshot into his brain.

Griffin is all too pleased to tell us everything.

His latest effort Bring Out The Monkey is a brazen insider’s perspective of life in the poor lane; it expertly captures the bottom-rung zeitgeist of the 21st Century and finds Griffin moving seamlessly through topics from substance abuse, pop culture and sex.

Read the rest of the review on Punchline Magazine.

Pick up “Bring Out the Monkey” on iTunes.


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

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

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

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

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

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

Who else made the Top 10? Find out at Punchline


The summer is over, and it was kind of disappointing. There weren’t many awesome movies released. Inception was the best film. Oddly enough, August held three of my favorite summer films (August is usually the end of summer movie season and the beginning of the dumping ground that is crappy movies) with Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, The Other Guys, and The Expendables (yeah, yeah, say what you want, but seeing old dues blow shit up and kill people is entertaining.)

Now, we come to Fall. Will it be as bad as the summer? Eh, I don’t know. So far, there isn’t much out there that seems interesting. But maybe, just maybe, something will come through as a good reason to spend your hard earned money to go to the theatre.


I’m Still Here (the 10th) – Remember when Joaquin Phoenix went crazy, became super annoying, didn’t shave, rapped poorly, and acted like he was on drugs? Well it was all for a fake documentary! I can’t wait to re-live those moments of annoyance again. Pass.

Resident Evil: Afterlife (the 10th) – I have yet to see one Resident Evil movie. But these keep getting made so there has to be an audience out there. In this one, Milla Jovovich kills zombie-like things, which I think happens a lot in the first three films. In other news, I’m not sure if Jovovich is hot.

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (the 24th) – Oliver Stone brings us a sequel we really didn’t care to see. I should write some sort of synopsis here but I really, really just don’t care. I might see it because I like Shia LeBeouf. Yeah, I said it. I like him. Fight me, I dare you (please don’t. I’m a pussy.)


The Social Network (the 1st) – A movie about Facebook? Sounds kind of lame. Directed by David Fincher of Fight Club fame? All right, I’ll see it. A great marketing campaign has made this film even more interesting. I can’t wait to see it and comment about it on Facebook! OMG SO META!

Jackass 3-D (the 15th) – I hate 3D and wish it were dead… after this film. Whoever’s idea this was is a genius. The Jackass films might, just might, kill the 3D craze by abusing it with horrific and gross gags. What fluids will fly at my face during this film? Find out in October!

Saw 3-D (the 31) – Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.


Due Date (the 5th) – Director Todd Phillips (The Hangover) + Robert Downey Jr + Zach Galifianakis = magic. Could this be a modern day Planes, Trains, and Automobiles? That film is a classic. If it is half that, it’ll be hilarious. It’s nice to see a comedy released in the fall. Usually, comedies are left to the spring or summer. Also, did I mention Galifianakis is a comedy gold mine?

For Colord Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf (the 5th) – What the fuck Tyler Perry? I go to movies to watch, not to read your long titles.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 1 (the 19th) – Watch the trailer for the first film, then this film. It is amazing how far these movies have come. This looks to be a fantastic end to the ride that is Harry Potter. That last sentence sounds like I want to ride Harry Potter. Which I don’t. Or do I? Mystery!


Black Swan (the 1st) – Darren Aronofsky makes a film about ballerinas. But more importantly, stars Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis kiss in it. Now, you might think I am being a jerk by not focusing on the film’s beautiful cinematography and fantastic acting displayed in the trailer, but you know what, I know. I am a jerk. And my exploding erection cannot be stopped.

TRON: Legacy (the 17th) – Daft Punk will make this movie awesome, I promise you. I’ve never seen the first one, but if this is a two-hour long Daft Punk music video, it’ll be the best movie ever. Also, Olivia Wilde is in it. And no, I don’t care about her looks. I care about her super hot and sexy acting. Her ridiculously attractive acting. Her sweet, well-exercised acting.

True Grit (the 25th) – The Coen Brothers are back with a remake of the 1969 western. I hope it is good. I love the original. But, I worry because this is being released on Jesus’ birthday and I bet he already has a lot of party plans. I guess I can go the next day.


Alex Koll received a really great shout out in this week’s SF Weekly. Read the glowing review below and make sure to check out Alex’s live album recording at the San Francisco Punchline next Tuesday, August 17th at 8pm.

By Paul M. Davis, SF Weekly

If there was a lifetime achievement award for exemplary Internet bullshittery, Alex Koll would be in the running. Since there isn’t, Koll will have to be content with his two-time wins at the San Francisco Regional Air Guitar Championship, which he won as his alter ego, Awesome. He retired the moniker after winning in 2009, though judging from a cryptic online video in which Awesome was reborn from the smoke of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano, the phantom shredder may rise again. Being crowned the Eddie Van Halen of air guitar isn’t Koll’s only unique skill: He also creates absurdist videos for the Revision3 network’s ROFL video podcast. But it’s Koll’s standup which is most deserving of Internet acronyms denoting laughter.

Read the rest of the article

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