Written by Iliza Shlesinger
To the people finding fault with the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge because of wasting water,
Interviewed and written by Al Bahmani
To say Iliza Shlesinger has the gift of gab is like saying Martin Scorsese is competent with a camera. Standing tall at 5 feet, 5 inches, Iliza Shlesinger is native Texan with a smile that conceals a sharp tongue that can cut right to punchlines in a heartbeat. In 2008 she was the first and only woman to win NBC’s Last Comic Standing. Her debut comedy special “War Paint” reached number 1 on iTune’s charts and is available on Netflix along with her feature film debut in Diablo Cody’s directorial debut “Paradise”. lliza takes some time off her busy road schedule to talk to Comedy Scene in Houston about her Laugh Factory produced podcast “Truth & Iliza”, her comedic origins and the miracle of uniting people through hate.
You begin every episode with the Henry Rollins quote “Nothing brings people together like a mutual hatred.” What mutual hatred can bring the rival cities of Dallas and Houston together?
You’re talking about that mutual hatred for one another?
Interviewed & Written by David Gavri
Paul Virzi is a longtime opener for Bill Burr and the host of the The Virzi Effect Podcast. He has been a guest and frequently mentioned on the Bill Burr Monday Morning Podcast. Virzi was also part of Bill Burr Presents: The All In Comedy Tour with Joe Bartnick and Jason Lawhead, and he recently toured with Bill Burr, performing in sold out theaters all across Canada.
Talking with Virzi about comedy was both inspiring and entertaining. Virzi opens up to share stories of his dark and troubled past, along with the obstacles he overcame throughout his journey. He also talks about his first time on stage and takes us all the way to opening for Bill Burr at Carnegie Hall, and everything else in between. And most importantly, Virzi shares his knowledge and wisdom with some good ol’ fashioned shop talk, giving advice for other comics. Paul Virzi learned from the best, and it’s time we learn from him. Continue reading
Word is out that the casting net is circling to find someone to play the late, great Richard Pryor in a film bio. Hopefully, the focus will be on finding someone who can capture not only Richard’s stand-up skills, but also his richly humanizing personal life. As great as he was on stage, his offstage actions made a believer of a teenager, who was celebrating his first night as a comedy club owner back in 1979. It was a first encounter I will never forget.
Open mics are like slaughterhouses. We all want the meat, but few of us have the guts to get down on that killing floor to witness the carnage and appreciate the process. Beautiful jokes are prime cuts of expertly carved funny meat. What ends up on your plate is the end result of a long gruesome undertaking, which is the practice required to hone the skill to make it look so easy. When people see Louis CK, Chris Rock, Sarah Silverman or Russell Peters perform they buy the ticket, enjoy the show and go home with those memories. They don’t see the failure that went into reaching that polished level. There is a lot of effort involved in making it look effortless, many levels to get there, and open mics are one of the most important.
To many people open mics are not seen as important. They can be excruciatingly awkward at times. Other times open mics downright offensive and even frightening. During our mic people have asked me questions;
“Is it always this misogynistic?”
“Is this mic supposed to be this offensive?”
“Do people make jokes about race a lot?”
“Do comics do a lot of homophobic material like that?”
“Why do you let people say things like that?”
My answer is always the same,
Edited By Al Bahmani
It’s late Friday night and a comic hears a knock at his hotel room door. A half dressed cutie stands there and says, “I saw your show tonight and got so turned on that I want you to make love to me tonight!“. The comic asks, “Was it the early or the late show?“.
There is nothing a comic takes more personally than bombing. Most would rather be accused of a crime than to be exposed to the uncomfortable stares of entertainment inadequacy. You never see it coming. The Bomb assumes its position when you least expect it. There is no clue as to its arrival, no prep for its ire and certainly no remedy for its results. Pre-bomb symptoms often take on flu like qualities. They include a sudden hot flash, a tightening in your vocal area, watery eyes, confusion and that one bead of sweat that develops somewhere in the middle of your back and rolls precisely through ass crack center. No matter how physically comedic or rhetorically gifted you are nobody is outside of its realm of influence. Many years ago I performed at the HBO comedy festival in Aspen and watched George Carlin stop in the middle of a taping and opt to close a showcase show later that night because the audience just wasn’t there for him.
Somewhere over the Rainbow…. If George Carlin can bomb, why oh why can’t I.
There are many ways to handle the Bomb, but as a comic who has experienced it few times and witnessed it many, I wanted to offer a few options as to how to address the humiliation with your head held high.