Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Carl LaBove update/postscript

A brief update to the review of Carl LaBove’s May 8 show is in order, after having caught a second performance of “An Outlaw’s Tale” on May 29. On this night, at the end of his run at the Laughing Devil club in Long Island City, Queens, LaBove had come a long way since earlier in the month – stringing his stories together more seamlessly and with a more logical order, building dramatic tension more effectively and adding other untold stories to the performance. LaBove has developed this show into a full-fledged theater-worthy piece, apart from his stand-up comedy. He plans more performances in the coming months in Long Island and Manhattan. We’ll keep you posted in our shows calendar.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Googa Mooga Extras

Also in the Extra Mooga section of the Googa Mooga festival on May 19, comedians played a part in the foodie-oriented presentations, with Aziz Ansari in particular greatly livening up a panel with chef David Chang, longtime food writer Ruth Reichl and musician/DJ James Murphy.

Ansari, whose new comedy album and special arrives soon and will be reviewed here, made light of eating samples presented to the panelists during their program. He repeatedly reacted to unintentional slips of the tongue by Chang, saying they would start race wars or other explosive activities. Chang, Murphy and Ansari had recently traveled together to Tokyo to do a piece for GQ, so Ansari was able to needle the others at times without genuinely upsetting them.

Food world personality Anthony Bourdain closed the Extra Mooga program of events as sunset neared, attracting the biggest and loudest crowd of any of the programs, garnering the most rock star-like status from the audience’s reactions. Bourdain had to play ringmaster by fielding audience questions for his entire program and the back-and-forth was rowdy, finding him raising his voice a lot to keep control of the proceedings.

This produced some highlights, but also a lot of not-so-thoughtful exchanges, like one question about who Bourdain “would like to deep fry” and another asking him if he had ever “sexted.” In one highlight, Bourdain did answer an eight-year-old girl’s query about how to cook unicorn. He also engaged in rants about favorite targets like the James Beard Foundation, and of course, foodies and hipsters. “Chefs are not rock stars,” Bourdain said, but in this program, it certainly seemed Bourdain was getting treated like one, and maybe even playing to that a bit.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Story Arcs in Miniature

I've been away from this blog for a little while, and couldn't quite stick to the mission I set out at the start of the year of turning this into a meta-comedy-in-the-media-critic sort of enterprise. This entry might seem a little inconsequential, but it's something I noticed.

People do go on about how attention spans are shrinking. I think I saw another piece of evidence of this. On the new HBO show, "Veep," which features Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, and which I like so far, the opening credits set out the whole backstory in what must be an unprecedentedly brief amount of time. It's a quick, animated progression of news headlines about Louis-Dreyfuss' character, a senator who ran for president but didn't make the cut in the primaries and ended up becoming the running mate and then vice president. That whole arc is communicated in what must be less than five seconds, and then "Veep" leaps into its first scene.

The show itself, particularly its dialogue, is pretty rapid fire, to the point where Gabi finds it stressful to watch, but I like the wit and sarcasm, the writing and situations, enough to keep it on my list. I wonder if I may be accelerating my ability to focus, a bit too much though, by becoming a fan of it.