Comedy Bang Bang Nativity Pageant 2012

Last week on December 4th it was the 500th live show of Comedy Bang Bang, as well as the last. Of course this was a funeral of sorts for the best comedy show in Los Angeles, but it was also a celebration of the last 500 weeks of shows. Comedy Wednesday here at Life Absorbed is based on this show, and it will be sadly missed. In a few weeks a new stand up comedy show will take its place at UCB, which Im sure will be hilarious and equally as fun, but I’m so sad to see it ending. When tickets went on sale for this event, there was no way I was going to miss it. I even bought the floor tickets to be as close to the comedians as possible. Here’s the tale of this epic comedy adventure.

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The usual venue for this event is the Upright Citizen’s Brigade, but since this was not only the last show but also the special Christmas Nativity Pageant (where proceeds go to the LA Food Bank), it was held at the Ricardo Montalban Theatre in Hollywood. They had food trucks out front, free drinks and the place was crawling with comedians. Not just the ones performing, but other local comedians that came to see their friends (and heros) perform. While I was waiting for the show to start (and buying the limited edition event print), I saw Jake Fogelnest running around, Jason Woliner taking his seat, and Myq Kaplan when the show was letting out. I’m sure there were tons more that I didn’t even catch.

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I took this photo in the lobby of the theater, looking through the glass at the press line. After I took this photo I realized Kulap (comedian and wife of Scott Aukerman-pictured above), was taking a photo next to me. She seemed so proud of her husband and it was really sweet to see. She recently was on Parks and Recreation playing Adam Scott’s step mother. Scott is the host of Comedy Bang Bang (the podcast, tv show on IFC, and the live show in Los Angeles ending this night). I consider Scott to be the Ben Franklin of comedy. He’s done SO much for the comedy community starting with this stand up show, then growing the empire into a podcasting station (Earwolf) filled with hilarious comedy shows. He’s taken initiative and created an outlet for comedians to reach listeners all over the world. Comedy Bang Bang is a $5 ticket every week and the podcast is by donation, which makes the comedy affordable and accessible to everyone. As a comedy fan, I’m extremely grateful for all of his hard work as I have certainly reaped the benefits. Now, on to the show!

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Here is Scott Aukerman opening the show. Isn’t he handsome?

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Patton Oswalt was first up. I’ve gotten to meet him at his book signing (which you can buy here) and I’m lucky enough to see him occasionally at work (he’s on The Newsroom this season!).

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Scott came back out to introduce the next guest with the help of Weird Al. Check out his website link for his new music.

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Jimmy Pardo came out next. He’s the host of Never Not Funny, his comedy podcast and if your lucky enough to catch a live Conan taping, you’ll get to see Jimmy prepping the crowd. He’s thinks on his toes and is amazing at crowd work. I’ve seen him perform easily 25 times, and I’ve never seen him have a rough night. 

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Scott came back out and invited Andy Richter to come help him introduce the next comedian.

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Next up, the Nerdist‘s Chris Hardwick. You might know him from when he hosted Singled Out with Jenny McCarthy. Or maybe you know him as half of Hard N’ Phirm? Or maybe from his Web Soup (the Soup but all about web content for G4tv)?

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Scott came back out with Steve Agee carrying the sexy Jon Hamm. This comedic sequence was hilarious and ended with Jon carrying Steve off stage. See more pics below:

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Jenny Slate came out next. You probably know her from SNL or Marcel The Shell With Shoes On (check out the animation on youtube).

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Scott came back out and was joined by The Cake Boss (Paul F. Tompkins), a Comedy Bang Bang podcast favorite.

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Right when Scott came out and started to say “I often get asked why the name changed from Comedy Death Ray to Comedy Bang Bang, and it’s a funny story. It all started when…” and he gets cut off by Matt Besser as The Upstager. He was out in the audience causing a stir and interrupting Scott. Yes, he’s wearing an Osama Bin Laden tee shirt.

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Tim Heidecker (of Tim and Eric) came out next and did his whole set as if it was a stock holder speech and he was just made the chief editor of Rolling Stone Magazine. The photo above was taken when Tim presented Scott with one free online subscription to be donated to the LA Food Bank.

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Zach Galifinakis came out next. I felt like the crowd was most excited to see Zach perform, and although I’ve seen him perform at comedy shows all over LA I haven’t ever seen him do his tradition Purple-Onion one liners, until now. Although he came out telling the crowd not to expect much, he didn’t disappoint. Zach’s a very low-energy guy, but his set was fantastic.

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Kurt Braunohler (host of IFC’s Bunk) and Kristen Schall (30 Rock) came out to perform together next. They have a comedy show together called “Hot Tub“. The started the bit in the photo above, where they introduced their charity for polio where the go to schools performing to raise awareness for the disease. Then the hit the lights and perform a glow in the dark dance that ends when the lights come up and they are in a sexual position. Then they try to slowly sneak off stage (see below).

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David Cross came out next! I must say, he was who I was most excited to see. I’ve never seen him in person and yet I spent my childhood watching Mr. Show, then as an adult seeing Arrested Development and The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret and I own his comedy cds. He was number 1 on my “to see” list for the last 10 years, so this was big for me. And he was so funny- he lived up to the hype.

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Todd Glass came out next. You can’t not love Todd. He’s awesome and you should check out his podcast, The Todd Glass Show.

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Next up was Neil Hamburger. He dedicated his set to the late Whitney Houston. He performs a lot at the Satellite in Silver Lake, so check back and I’ll keep you posted on when he’s performing next.

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The lovely ladies of Garfunkel and Oates were up next. They sang the Fade Away song, about the crewl way girls break up with guys by just slowly disappearing. Then they sang The College Try, about a college bisexual experience that didn’t go well. The last song they sang was Loophole about anal sex.

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Doug Benson came out next. I see Doug Loves Movies all the time, but it was nice getting to see him do stand up. If you’re in Los Angeles you have to catch Doug Loves Movies or the Benson Interruption at the Silent Movie Theater.

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Up next was Chelsea Peretti. She’s a writer for Parks and Recreation and you may remember her from the Louie pilot where she and Louie CK go on the most painful date ever.

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Nick Kroll is probably most well known from the FX show The League. He does excellent character work on the CBB podcast. My favorite character Nick does is Fabrice Fabrice.

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Next up was “The Queen of Mean” as Scott introduced him. No, not Lisa Lampanelli, but Anthony Jeselnik. His comedy is really mean… but also really funny.

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Paul Scheer did a gift giving bit with help from the audience. He suggested movie screeners as gifts and then said he would give them to audience members at least until…

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Rob Huebel came out from the audience with a gun and saying he was with the FBI’s anti-screener division and what Paul was doing was illegal. This became a heated stand off… even audience members weren’t safe:

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It was later revealed that Paul was from Interpol, and was actually a reverse sting operation. Then it was revealed that they were both just acting out a scene. It was a roller coaster of emotion.

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Brian Posehn came out next and did a set. Brian also got his start on the Mr. Show with Bob and David. Did I mention that Scott was one of their writers? Or that Paul F. Tompkins also starred on the show? If Bob Odenkirk had come out this would have been a full fledged Mr. Show reunion.

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Last up for the night was Thomas Lennon. He donned his PSY suit and got the audience singing “bing-bong” to his Christmas song. This song was pretty dark and he went out into the audience having people sing “bing-bong” into the mic while he sang his lyrics.

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Not long after I took this photo (note Todd Glass standing in the background), Thomas Lennon came up to me and made me sing into the mic. It was awesome/terrifying. I’m terrible at keeping a beat (I’m the type to clap one off from everyone) so this was quite scary. Plus I could hear my out-of-tune voice from the sound system, which meant I must have been blaring. I kept moving my head back away from the mic but he kept shoving it closer and closer to my lips.

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Thomas Lennon finished his song on stage and Scott joined him for the final good bye. As heart breaking as this was, it meant the show had to end.

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Todd Glass jumped on stage after the show ended and continued “bing-bonging” for several mintues as the theater cleared out. Comedians came out from back stage to take pictures of him. I am crazy impressed that Todd was able to “bing-bong” to the beat, in key, for at least 5 solid minutes.

Well that concludes the final Comedy Bang Bang show. To see photos from previous years, check out THIS post and THIS post. To listen to the bag stage fun check out Scott and Kulap’s Comedy Bang Bang podcast.

Humblebrag: The Art of False Modesty

 

I’ve been waiting for the right Comedy Wednesday to bring this up, and it seems today is the day. Harris Wittels, friend of the blog and full time dreamboat, has released his first book based on his hit twitter revolution: the humblebrag. For those new to this term, it’s when someone phrases a humble statement that is really meant to brag about themselves. For example (which I took from the book), this tweet by Noah Harlan (@noahharlan) “In other news, Paul McCartney stole our golf cart. I’m serious. #HonoredOrPissed?” Are you really pissed or are you super excited and want the world to know you just had an interaction with Paul McCartney… probably the latter. It’s a modest form of bragging. This term was invented by Harris and is now common-speak. That’s pretty cool.

Well he’s taken his Grantland monthly column and twitter account (@Humblebrag) and turned it into an awesome book called Humblebrag: The Art of False Modesty. Order your copy today and check out the hilarious video-ad above.

Comedy Wednesday: Comedy Bang Bang IFC Event (Los Angeles)

Today is a special Comedy Wednesday because this past weekend I attended Comedy Bang Bang‘s live podcast taping at the First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles. This event is part of a promo tour for Scott Aukerman’s IFC show, Comedy Bang Bang. It also began (and continues to exist) as a once a week stand up show at UCB. This week I had to skip it, but at least I have the podcast taping to share with you.

I arrived at the church around 6pm (7pm, doors open. 8pm show starts). Parking took forever, but at least I was in line around 6:30 and got a decent spot.

When we got in we snagged some good seats and payed a visit to the 2 stalled restroom. This made my decision not to drink very easy, because I could tell the restroom lines were going to get crazy long. They had wine and beer on sale in the courtyard. The venue was fine despite the bad parking and practically no bathrooms. The thing that was a challenge to get around was the smell. Inside the sanctuary, where the podcast taping was done, it did not smell pleasant. All of these things didn’t matter to me though, because the excitement of the night performance had me captivated.

To start off the evening, Kurt Braunohler, host of IFC’s Bunk, came out and did a bit of stand up as well as showed a clip from his show. He was hilarious, and while I’ve seen him on Bunk I’ve never seen him doing stand up. It was a great start to the show and had lots of energy.

Next up Scott Aukerman came out to set the stage for how the nights events would work. For part of his bit he brought up a potential Fire Safety leader (aka random member of the audience) to participate in a series of fire safety tests… which ultimately lead to the audience member dressed in a wig make-up and shirtless while on his knees pretending to be a cow. It was hilarious and the audience member was a good sport about it all. I mean, how cool to have that story to tell your friends.

After Scott finished up, he brought out James Adomian to do some stand-up. I used to see James all the time when he lived in Los Angeles, but a few years ago (?) he moved to New York so I haven’t seen him in a while. He’s always a good time and he does a lot of characters on the Comedy Bang Bang Podcast. It was nice to see him to stand-up as himself. He’s also an openly gay comedian, which I think is awesome, as he’s not afraid to talk about gay rights and other American issues in his set. He did a bit that basically calls out certain beer companies as being offensive to gays in their ad campaigns.

Once James finished up, Scott came back out to begin the podcast portion of the night. The first guest he brought out for this is my (and most of the listeners) favorite comedian, Harris Wittels. He and Scott talked for a while which was fun.

Scott then brought out Adam Scott (best dressed of the night) and the three of them did some character work. If you know the CBB podcast, you know that each episode different comedians come on as characters, which are often very well done. Harris and Adam had been on the podcast before as the two funny people they are. Scott tried to get them to do characters and it was hilariously bad. So bad that it’s insanely funny, because these two guys just don’t do characters. I’m not knocking them in any way, and they know that they characters they’ve created are just hilariously weird. In fact their episodes were ranked the highest because people enjoyed it so much. And this past Saturday they did not disappoint. They introduced two new characters who work together at the Raisin Bran Factory in the scooping department (see, hilarious!).

Andy Daly joined them on stage next as Chip Gardner, as his reoccurring character of a man trying to become the honorary mayor of West Hollywood. Andy Daly does his stand-up as characters so he’s amazing at committing to a character. His stand-up album Nine Sweaters is so great (and you can buy that here).

Nick Kroll came out next as El Chupacabra. He was excellent and kept the energy going, despite it being about two hours into the event.

Last up, James Adomian came out as Paul Giamatti. I’m glad that we got to see James do stand-up and as a character, since he’s really excellent at both. His Paul Giamatti character was a little tricky to hear based on the acoustics of the room. The louder a comedian spoke, the more it echoed, and James has a loud audience voice. Also, my favorite character that James does is Huell Howser, since it’s so dead-on.

Once everyone was on stage, they did a round of would you rather, which gave all the comedians a chance to interact which is really fun for the audience. Once it got to be close to 11p it wrapped up, and the show ended. It was such a great night and so worth he ticket. They are selling the recordings from their tour HERE.

Recap: Comedy Bang Bang Nativity Pageant 2011

The Comedy Bang Bang Christmas Show 2011, was amazing per usual. It was in a larger venue this year, the Ricardo Montalban Theater in Hollywood. Thankfully the theater was pretty intimate dispite being 20 time the size of UCB. I purchased a $30 General admission ticket, and got a pretty good seat with my group of 5 friends along the left side of the theater. Scott Aukerman hosted the show, of course, and began by encouraging people to move around during the show and take advantage of the giveaways in the lobby and the food trucks outside. This part was a great improvement from UCB, because at UCB there was never a food option and only 2 bathrooms. Inevdiably, patrons would need to sneak out at the start of a comedians set and be called out for “leaving”. Thankfully, at this large venue with people going in and out you felt less self conscious about that.

I need to apologize to you and to myself, because my camera is in the shop and I was forced to take cell phone pictures of the event. Lately my cell phone has been acting funny, and nearly half the photos I took (aka, the in-focus pics) didn’t save to the camera for some reason. So you are about to see the best of the worst. Good luck.

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Here is Scott Aukerman introducing the show. How hot did he look last night!? He was so handsome in his suit and his hair so perfectly quaffed. Serious stud-muffin… that Kulap is one lucky lady. For those of you who don’t know who he is, Scott started out writing for The Mr. Show and is who I would call, the George Washington of Comedy. He’s not old, and this is purely meant as a compliment. Scott has done so much for the comedy community. He and BJ Porter started Comedy Death Ray, which is now Comedy Bang Bang back in 2002 and it’s been such a great way to expose great stand up comedians to and audience that can’t afford to go to large expensive venues every week. Scott and Jeff Ulrich started Earwolf, which is a comedy podcasting channel. Through this channel many indie comedians can post podcasts every week from LA, that people all over the world can listen to. Throughout his career he’s been trying to make indie comedians more accessible to the public and he’s taken a leadership role in trying to organize the comedy community. The most impressive part is that he’s done a lot of these things without a lot of recognition, he does it because he cares about indie comedy. Thank you Scott Aukerman.

Scott Aukerman and Paul F. Tompkins (as Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber) sang their own version of Father Christmas Is Coming To Town. Sir Webber is a frequent visitor on the Comedy Bang Bang podcast.

Nick Kroll started off the night as the first stand up comic to take the mic. You might know him from The League or as one of his many characters (my favorite is Fabrice, Fabrice).

Jen Kirkman was up next.

Scott lowered the mic for the next comedian, Jimmy Pardo. Jimmy killed it as usual. Jimmy has the podcast “Never Not Funny” which sponsored the event. He works on the Conan O’brian Show as the crowd emcee. On tv shows made in front of a live audience (specifically where they record the laugh track) they need a live emcee to keep the crowd pumped up and energized between takes. This is the PERFECT job for Jimmy Pardo because he is great with an audience. He doesn’t even need to prepare bits because all he has to do is talk with an audience member and it’s always hilarious.

Adam Scott (Party Down, Parks and Recreation, Step Brothers) came on stage where he pretended to be a presenter at the SAG Awards. Scott and Adam are good friends and podcast together often, so I’m not surprised he attended. Considering Adam Scott is not a stand-up, this was the perfect skit for him to be apart of on stage.

Marc Maron came up next, where he did what he does best and “got real”. Marc is great storyteller and has a way about talking to the audience as if you’re a small group of friends at a party. He even took out an email and read it, very much like he does on his podcast, WTF with Marc Maron.

Bob Odenkirk was a great follow up to Marc Maron, because they couldn’t be further apart on the comedy scale. Bob was very funny with light puns and more “jokie” jokes. Much lighter than Marc’s story telling. Both so funny and yet so different. By the way, Bob is from the Mr. Show with Bob (Odenkirk) and David (Cross).

Next up, Kumail Nanjiani.

Scott broke up the stand-up comedy routine by having his friend Weird Al perform. Weird Al literally made love to the audience and it was fantastic.

Sarah Silverman did her set next.

After Sarah, Todd Glass took the stage which was followed by…

JON HAMM! YUM!

Andy Daly came out as one of his characters who is a children’s theater director (think creepy old guy with authority around kids).

Brian Posehn came out next. He’s the first of three members of the Comedians of Comedy that came out that night. I apologize for this terrible photo.

Andy Kinder was up next.

Anthony Jeselnik was the only comedian of the night I’d never seen perform live before, and he was really funny too.

Neil Hamburger even came out for the night.

TIG! She’s always great. I’m going to see her on Friday night at Largo as part of Sarah Silverman’s Show.

Patton Oswalt! He’s one of my favorite comedians. He was clearly exhausted but did a solid set.

David Kochner (The Office, Anchorman) came out as a character making topical jokes.

Garfunkle and Oates sand their gocart song and then rapped about handjobs. They do regular performances at UCB, where they perform a bunch of songs and it’s an awesome show to see. They are a little timid on stage when they speak and it’s fun to see them be so lively when they sing.

Next up, Matt Braunger.

Maria Bamford hit the stage after Matt, and it’s unfortunately at this point that I had to leave (12:15?). I get up so early for work and when I left the theater I still had to walk back to my car. My goal was to stay and see Maria (because she’s awesome) and the last 4 performers I’d seen perform a bunch of times at UCB.

So alas, my CBB Christmas event is over until 2012. Thankfully I have Largo on friday (Don’t Stop Or We’ll Die is performing! Paul Rust, Harris Wittels, Michael Cassady). 3 giant comedy events in one week, isn’t life great?

Comedy Bang Bang Nativity Pageant

Today (exactly 20 min ago) 2011 Comedy Bang Bang Nativity Show tickets went on sale (get them HERE). I have gone 2 other years when it was held at the UCB Theatre in LA. The money goes to the LA Food Bank and they often do an Ebay auction to raise funds. This year they moved out of the UCB Theater to a much larger venue in Hollywood, so tickets are much easier to get and a lot more money can be raised in ticket sales to go toward the LA Food Bank. GO TO THIS EVENT! $30 is NOTHING to see this many comedians in one place. At UCB it was awesome being in a theater packed with comedians. Really something special. Im interested to see how this works in a larger theater. Below are photos from previous years:

Nick Thune

Don’t Stop Or We’ll Die with Scott Aukerman

Paul Scheer and Bret Gelman (as the dudes from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure) and Jon Daly as Santa

Paul Rust and Martin Starr

Weird Al saving Christmas

Sarah Silverman

Tom Lennon

Adam Scott in his Party Down attire

Nick Kroll and Paul F. Tompkins

Aziz Ansari

Harris Wittels as “The Butler”

These were maybe half of the amount of comedians that performed at the 2010 Comedy Death Ray Christmas Show. I had to end these pics on my comedian crush, Harris Wittels. Swoon.