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HELP POWER LAUGHTER AGAINST MACHINE!

Janine Brito, Nato Green, and W Kamau Bell, collectively known as Laughter Against the Machine, are on the brink of kick starting their upcoming tour of America, and they can use your help. If you’re a fan of political comedy in the vain of Mort Sahl, Dick Gregory, or the Daily Show, then please consider contributing a few bucks to their efforts. Their project will only be funded if at least $20,000 is pledged by Friday Sep 9. They’re currently at 18,200. So close!

Learn about their project:

In Janine’s words:

This country is in turmoil, our economy is in shambles, corporations count as people, and homophobic Puerto Rican senators are posting nude photos of themselves on Grindr to “document their weight-loss regimen.” But we don’t have to tell you this. If you are a fan of Rooftop that probably means you know all this and use comedy to take a break and/or get new perspective on the world out there. Well, three comics/Rooftop Favorites, Nato Green, Janine Brito, and W. Kamau Bell are going to go directly to some of the sources of the “trouble” and see if we can help or at least if they can use a laugh. We are Laughter Against The Machine. We are going on tour to a few of America’s current (and classic) political hotspots: Phoenix AZ, Chicago IL, Dearborn/Detroit MI, Madison WI, New Orleans, Washington DC, and Oakland CA. And we need your help! We leave THIS Saturday and we literally only have hours to go to raise the money we need for the tour and a documentary about the tour. We are asking the questions: Is there hope for America? And can comedy help? Please check out our Kickstarter where you can pledge money and get some cool rewards. And if we happen to be in one of your cities, then please come see the show live. And if you can’t do either but want to help, then please spread the word to your like-minded peoples. Laughter Against The Machine wants to be the campfire for the revolution!

Contribute to Laughter Against the Machine

Little Reid Big City #19

Reiders. How kind of you to join me again.

I am only a couple weeks away now from my year anniversary in New York City. It’s already been a year –I am in a state of minor disbelief. Lately at work, I’ve been taking extra bathroom breaks, sitting on the toilet, and listening to old sets of mine I recorded on my phone. It helps pass the time, while also providing some insight into just how far I’ve come. Listening back to even February (sometimes I don’t dare dredge up October and September, they were a little rough), I’m amazed how far I have come. I hear jokes and wonder, “Where did I think that was going? Why couldn’t I get to the point?” I was so jittery on stage, I could hardly stick to a topic, and if I did a lot of the times it was so abstract with no real point or reason. Then again, some of the sets went great –as nice as it is to think I’ve improved so tremendously, I can’t be unreasonable and hate everything I did back then. But the point remains: I’ve come a long way.

I think the first five months were the worst. I lacked confidence, didn’t know anyone, was alone for a while heading out to mics and shows. I was lonely, and you can hear it in the jokes I was doing: “Do you ever get depressed and start eating ice cream, only to stop so you can save some for when you’re depressed tomorrow?” After that though, I found my group of friends, started getting booked on shows, and everything has gone uphill from there. Those first months though, I am happy to know I will never have to do that again, but on the same note happy that I could get through it.

This past week I was booked on five separate shows in the city, the most I’ve been booked on in one week as of yet. These were also some of the best shows I’ve done in the city as well –incredibly booked, great audiences, great reactions. I’m starting to get really confident in some of my material, and finding a way to lead audiences into my more abstract jokes. One of my new bits, one I actually really like, is surprisingly observational and clear to understand. It’s a joke where the idea is so relatable yet unaddressed, that one of the bigger laughs I get is by simply stating the truth of the matter. This is something very new for me. Yet I still perform it in my style, it still feels very “Reid” despite being relatively simple and straightforward. I’ve been pairing this with some shorter punchier jokes in the beginning, and have found it is so much easier to tackle the more abstract, convoluted, patience-requiring material I love so much. These are the kinds of ideas I would have never thought of when I first arrived. Sure, I knew I had to lead audiences into my style, but most of the time this was done by sacrificing what I like for what works with the audience, so that when I finally did make the leap into “my” material, they were still lost. I’m learning how to guide people in and make what I do relatable, as absurd as that may seem.

This past week felt especially good considering I was still feeling down about missing some work at my home club in Cincinnati. A good friend of mine, Ryan Singer, was heading back for his first headlining week there, and had hoped to bring me with him as his feature. I was really excited about it, the owner had told me even the year prior he was looking for a time when I could feature (doing the middle, 20-25 minute act) there, and I was looking forward to returning. When Ryan suggested it though, it was shot down, and for good reasons. It was Ryan’s first time headlining there, it would be my first time featuring there, not to mention that given our styles it would be the weirdest piece of shit ever. The show would simply be too much of a risk, and though I understand that, I was still disappointed. I found this out only a week after getting rejected from the Comic Strip for very similar reasons –being too alternative, too weird for club audiences. My confidence took a definite dip. Yet it felt like this week New York was making it up to me. Some of the people I performed for (namely the drunk patrons of a Thai restaurant on a beach) were clearly not my type of crowd, were not into comedy, and were not seeking out the strange and alternative. But when I did “my” material and did great, hell, better than I could’ve imagined given the scenario, it felt very good. Sure, I can be a risk, what I do is not really within the norm, but I can still make people laugh –and if I do that one where I kiss myself as a twelve year old boy just right, I can make them laugh hard.

This year has been very difficult at points, but I don’t think I’ve been happier with any other choice. I’ve learned and improved more than I could have anywhere else almost, and all it took was feeling like a wet piece of shit for a few months.

GUEST SENTENCE: Reid from October –“Oh, I’m a sad little boy. Why is the joke about the new Bible I’m writing not working? Boo hoo, I wish I had friends.” As OctoberReid went over his sentence allotment, he will not be returning.

Follow Reid on Twitter

Watch clips by Reid

MARC MARON’S 5 COMEDIANS TO WATCH

New York Magazine’s “Vulture” published Marc Maron’s “5 Comedians to Watch” list today. We were very pleased and not at all surprised to see a few very familiar Rooftop faves on the list.

Kyle Kinane

The cranky guy. The cranky guy is one of my favorite comedy archetypes. If it doesn’t come naturally and is forced, it stinks. There is a fine line between being a crank and a complainer. Kyle is a seamless raconteur with a genuine voice of the ageless, cranky poet. – Maron

Amber Preston

The brassy gal. I like ballsy women who know their way around a stage. Amber Preston kicks ass. She has great jokes and she doesn’t take any shit. She’s the kind of comic who could play a one-nighter at a bowling alley or a 1,000-seat theater and just nail it. I think she could beat me up. – Maron

Ryan Singer

The absurd optimist. Ryan Singer is the most intentionally happy person I know. Which either means he is really happy or is about to lose his fucking mind. I like Ryan because he is weird onstage and commits to it. It’s not an alienating weird; it’s a happy, embracing weird. If people don’t embrace it, he just gets weirder. I love that. – Maron

Congrats to Amber Preston, Kyle Kinane, Joe Mande, Pete Holmes, and Ryan Singer. Being on Maron’s “Comedians to Watch” list is like being anointed by god.

Check out the rest of the list on Vulture.

Pick up Marc Maron’s new album, “This Has to be Funny”, which was released today.

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.

The Best Medicine Podcast

The Best Medicine is a weekly podcast featuring Rooftop favorite Dan Gabriel and fellow funny comic Robert Duchaine. The podcast is aimed to “dispense advice to help our fellow man navigate through a turbulent world,” and boy, does it. With stories of life on the road, an impressive cast of guests, and hard hitting advice, BM will have you BM’ing yourself into hysterics. This week’s guest is comedian and former Golden State Warrior mascot Sadiki Fuller! Have a look!

Subscribe to the Best Medicine podcast on iTunes.

More from Dan Gabriel

ALBUM REVIEW: ADAM NEWMAN “NOT FOR HORSES”

From Ed Palencia, The Comedy Reviews Blog:

“I’ve listened to a few comedy albums this year from comedians who weren’t ready. They had some good ideas and starting points, but still… Just because someone has a buddy with an MP3 recorder doesn’t mean you should start in on artwork for your CD just yet. If you’re not ready, you’ll find yourself in the middle of the schoolyard with a tangle of jump rope around your feet.”

“But if you are ready…oh man, it’s a beautiful thing. Which brings me to the topic at hand: Adam Newman’s album, Not for Horses. To put it simply, Adam Newman was ready.”

Read the rest of Ed’s review on the Comedy Review site.

Pick up “Not for Horses” on Amazon

Little Reid, Big City #17


Hello Reiders!

I like how my standard opening has gone from being ironic to heartfelt through the power of repetition. In some ways it upsets me, but then I calm down, and think about how much I love you all, then I feel better.

A couple weeks ago I co-produced my first show! Underbelly, the show I mentioned in last month’s blog post, finally had its New York premier, and it went damn fine. The whole premise is “Stand-Up Comedians Doing Everything but Stand-Up” –which I can happily say we more than delivered. Throughout the show there was a magic show, several skits, songs, dancing, puppets, myself topless covered in “cocaine”, and comic Nick Vatterott doing something with milk jugs that though I did not quite understand, left me full of pleasures and smiles. The show was pretty packed, we had a cake decorated like one of the performers “taking a shit in an ice cream sundae” and overall I was well pleased. Other comics are coming up to me pretty frequently with ideas, asking how to get on Underbelly –if I had any regret, it was waiting this long to put on a show.

It was a good highlight, which provided some wonderful perspective for a somewhat crushing low. Back in March I had my first audition for the Comic Strip, a respected New York comedy club, and after the second lottery I received my second audition spot, which I performed at last Tuesday night. The format was different: the audition itself was a show, complete with live judging, a proper host (Sherrod Small), a packed crowd, and an admittedly forced degree of severity and drama added to the show to make it interesting. “The judges are going to be mean, they’re going to try to rip you apart on stage, but it’s part of the show, don’t worry about it,” was what we were told before performing. My last audition went well enough; one of my jokes really connected, the other fell a little flat after rushing through it upon getting the light early. This was considerably worse. After waiting a couple hours, first for the show to start then for the long judging rounds to finish, I finally had my time to perform –for a minute and a half. Before me, each comic had their full time, the three to five minutes we were told we could perform, everyone getting five and some good feedback from the crowd. I got through one bit and the set-up for another before being audibly buzzed and forced to stop. “Maybe this kind of stuff will work downtown, but it would never work here. You’re too alt to work here.” “You didn’t even tell jokes, that’s the problem, you sat up there for five minutes and never told a joke.” And so on. One of the judges stood up for me a bit, arguing that I didn’t even have the time to get anywhere, that I was doing something different and no one knew what to expect, and we didn’t find out what I was even going to do. “He was trying something new and different, I don’t see why we can’t have a comic like this work here.” The crowd responded well to that, before the booker interrupted and pointed out that they weren’t laughing, that’s why acts like mine wouldn’t be booked. Finally I asked, “Please, I just have to know: did I get passed or not?”

Afterwards, the booker talked with me, this time friendly and complimentary. He thanked me for being a good sport, and told me that he liked that I was different, that I shouldn’t let go of that, that if this were an alternative room he’d book me in a heartbeat, and that he likes the weirder stuff but it just doesn’t work for this room. Great. The whole thing’s given me a lot to think about. I know what I’m doing is strange, isn’t stand-up in a conventional sense, and I understood going in that what I planned to do isn’t what they prefer. But to not even be given the time to do anything, to be cut off before I even had a chance to show what it is that I do, that was rough. At least when I look at it I can’t say I had a bad set –I just didn’t have a set. Matters were slightly complicated when my roommate followed me, riffed with the judges beautifully and got both passed to work at the club and received management in the same night. It’s not always fun to have one of your worst nights in comedy a few minutes before one of your closest friends has his best. But in all honesty, though of course it hurts a bit to see someone else get opportunities you didn’t, I can’t be anything but proud for him. The timing, perhaps, stings a little, but it’s good to see someone talented get what’s coming to them. I hope that’s some kind of maturity.

In summary: it was a miserable experience. It left me doubting my material in a club setting, feeling embarrassed, a bit angry, and further frustrated from the booker’s positive comments and the suspicion that the harsh treatment was only for the sake of the show, which is a wonderful way to treat my only opportunity in a year. But oddly, I feel confident about it all. It was one of the worst experiences I could’ve had in that setting, and that’s made performing far easier since then. I performed the first two jokes twice at shows last night, to great reception, and have been taking a lot more risks with what I choose to perform –why not? It couldn’t be much worse than that. Somehow, it’s made comedy and writing new material go a lot smoother this last week. After that night, amid the support and nice words from my friends, I heard plenty of stories about the amazing comics the venue has ignored and rejected in the past. Here’s hoping I can be one of them.

Follow Reid on Twitter

HARRY POTTER & THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, PART 2

10 years and eight movies later, the Harry Potter saga is over. I did some research and found out that the series did, in fact, make about 14 gagillionjillion dollars.

But most importantly, Hermoine turned out really, really hot.

Though some saw it as a cash crab, WB and the filmmakers decided to split the second film in half in order to get as much of the book in the film as possible, which is something I very much welcome. Sure, they get way more money now, but also, we get two very good films. Someday, when they get released as one movie, it’ll be an epic 4.5 hours of movie watching. Also, an epic 4.5 hour erection over Hermoine. Seriously, have you seen her lately. Talk about a curse. On my wiener.

You’ve probably seen the film or heard about it, but for those who don’t have erections about Hermoine, in this film, Harry faces Voldemort for the final time. But before that, he must destroy all the Horcruxes. There are seven total, all containing a part of Voldemort’s soul. Luckily, one of those isn’t Hermoine. Because she is hot and I’d hate for her to have to die.

It’s a 130 minute film, about 100 of those being action. It is truly fantastic how it all comes together. Neville Longbottom who, if I can say so, truly grew into his very British face to become kind of hot (but not hot like Hermoine. I mean, I like girls. Not boys. Not boys named Neville. Stop it, erection!), shows up in a big way as the de facto leader of the Hogwarts students while our group of three have been searching for Horcruxes. When they arrive, they devise a plan to take over the school from Snape, who is now running it after killing Dumbledore. Also, Hermoine is there. And hot and stuff. She even has boobs now. And an age that is legal.

Alan Rickman as Snape is the best part of this entire series. The guy truly can play evil and be kind at the same time. When Harry learns what Snape has done for him, it is truly heartbreaking for both characters. Rickman shines through this film, which is very hard to do with the likes of Michael Gambon as Dumbledore, Ralph Fiennes as Lord Voldemort and Emma Watson as the super fucking hot Hermoine.

It is obvious, I loved the film. You should definitely see it. It is truly an accomplishment that these films remained this good over the decade they were in production. It’s a lesson in storytelling and love that author JK Rowling turned over her baby, the Harry Potter saga, to these filmmakers, to bring into fruition. Of course, you can always have the argument that the book is better, but that is a ridiculous argument. Books and movies are completely different media outlets. Books have the time to explore indefinite side stories and characters. Movies have about 2.5 hours, if they are lucky. Movies have to sacrifice and Steve Kloves, who adapted all of them, did the best job possible. There will always be things left out that I wish weren’t (for example, the way Voldemort meets his demise in the books is way cooler than in the movie), but those are pointless arguments.

Besides, books are stupid. Unless they have photos of Hermoine in them. Hot photos. So, so hot.

“ANDY & JONATHAN” SCREENING IN SAN FRANCISCO 7/13

Here’s some exciting news, citizens of San Francisco. The Roxie Theater in the Mission District is continuing their tradition of great comedy programming by bringing a very special 3 – part program to their screen Wednesday, July 13th.

JONATHAN WINTERS: BIRTH OF A COMEDY GENIUS
From his early break-through as a regular on the NBC COMEDY HOUR, to his prolific work on the STEVE ALLEN/DINAH SHORE/JACK PAAR shows, and his own short-lived 15 minute series THE JONATHAN WINTERS SHOW, the man literally re-invented the concept of “live” comedy. In this great new documentary from Johnny Legend you will literally witness the birth of a comic genius – and understand how he inspired the generation that followed – from Andy Kaufman to Robin Williams to Seinfeld and countless others! Produced by Johnny Legend. Digital. 2009. 72 mins. WORLD THEATRICAL PREMIERE! Plays at 6:15pm and 10pm.

MY BREAKFAST WITH BLASSIE

This insanely hilarious take on MY DINNER WITH ANDRE features legendary comedian Andy Kaufman and wrestling superstar Fred Blassie as they wile away the morning over breakfast in a local Sambo’s restaurant. It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen or heard! Newly restored and the first Roxie showing in over a decade! Directed by Linda Lautrec and Johnny Legend. In Color. Digital. 1983. 55 mins. Plays at 7:45pm ONLY!

EXTRA ADDED ATTRACTION: BREAKFAST SPECIAL

A one-hour super-treat featuring recently discovered Andy footage PLUS other great material featuring Fred Blassie and Johnny Legend himself! Plays at 8:45pm ONLY!

Enter our Facebook Photo caption contest for a chance to win 2 free tickets to the screening of your choice. Contest ends Friday July 8th at 2PM PST.

CHILDRENS HOSPITAL LIVE IN SAN FRANCISCO 6/30

SF Sketchfest is proud to present an evening with the hit comedy Childrens Hospital, and NTSF:SD:SUV:, the latest live action show scheduled to join the Adult Swim line up. The cast and creators will be here in person to explain/defend themselves in this lively not-to-be-missed evening of entertainment featuring never-before-seen footage, comedy pieces with the actors and their characters, an audience Q & A and more surprises. Join Rob Corddry, Rob Huebel, Erinn Hayes & Lake Bell of Childrens Hospital and Paul Scheer & June Diane Raphael from NTSF:SD:SUV, along with Executive Producer Jonathan Stern for a night of comedy, medicine and terrorism.

Childrens Hospital entered its third season June 2. Created by Rob Corddry (who stars as the clownish Dr. Blake Downs), it’s a brilliant send-up of medical dramas, with a top-notch comedic cast, including Ken Marino, Megan Mullally, Rob Huebel, Malin Akerman, Erinn Hayes, Lake Bell and Henry Winkler.

NTSF: SD: SUV (that’s National Terrorism Strike Force: San Diego: Sport Utility Vehicle) is a hilarious new program from the mind of Paul Scheer (Human Giant) that takes high-voltage procedural dramas to task…force. Look to your left. Now look to your right. Two of those people are terrorists. If you want to learn how to stop terrorism you must clear you schedule and join some of the cast of Adult Swim’s newest show NTSF:SD:SUV, for a special screening, discussion and terrorist prevention demonstration. Attendance is mandatory if you want to live to see tomorrow.
One show only!
Tickets on sale now!

Thursday, June 30
8pm BUY TICKETS
at Marines’ Memorial Theater
609 Sutter Street
San Francisco, CA 94102

Co-presented by Nerdist, Rooftop Comedy and Marines’ Memorial Theatre.