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Wednesday
Feb212007

Free Copies of The New Coldplay Album!

Layers of LavenderPunchline Magazine is giving away three free(!) copies of Zach Galifianakis' new DVD Live from the Purple Onion. But before you get your collective undergarments into a butt-crack-inflaming bundle, know there is a catch: You have to sign up for Punchline Magazine's (gasp!) NEWSLETTER!!!

Three people will be randomly selected from Punchline Magazine’s newsletter subscribers to win a copy of Zach Galifianakis' new concert film, Live at the Purple Onion (in stores March 6). So if you’re already a Punchline Magazine newsletter subscriber, you’re in the running. If you’re not, please sign up in the box to your left for our semi-regular newsletter. Winners will be contacted Friday, March 2. Good luck!


We've seen the movie, and we wouldn't exactly call it a standard concert film. Interspersed throughout the performance are highlights from Zach and Joe Wagner's mini-road trip and an interview between Brian Unger and Zach's twin brother Seth Galifianakis. It actually has a similar style to The Comedians of Comedy that way -- which makes sense since Michael Blieden directed both of them -- but this one has a more surreal feel, perfectly capturing the odd Galifianakian tone. And according to Blieden's post on AST, that was exactly what he was going for:

The final cut takes you through all the moods that he covered over the 3 shows, sparing you the hideous moments (like the awkward slapping bit) but not making it too easy on the audience either. Brian's interview of Seth, while completely ridiculous, is not entirely tongue in cheek. The questions posed to Seth about Zach putting the audience through torture, then "picking right back up again and carrying on" (I think that's the line) were intended to make people aware of the substructure in Zach's show. Every 10 minutes or so is a roller coaster ride.


Needless to say, its well worth the price of an extra email here and there.
Tuesday
Feb202007

Catching Up With The Fam

We're the Alex P. Keaton of the bunch
Father Apiary
is giving away a whole boatload of good stuff, including handmade T-shirts, a Super Deluxe beanie, and even a copy of Jen Kirkman's amazing new CD Self Help. All you have to do is send them an email specifying which item you want, choose a deity from the Wheel of Gods, and pray like hell that you'll be the one chosen at random. Don't fret if you don't win that Kirkman CD though, you can still read our interview with her without paying a dime. Everyone's a winner!

Meanwhile, The Heavily Fortified Bastion has news of Sandy Takes A Break, a character-driven sketch show, leaving the 15-inch snowfalls of Chicago for a brief visit to the tropical climate of Southern California for a showcase over at the Comedy Central Stage on Thursday March 15, 8pm.
Tuesday
Feb202007

Video of the Moment: "The Hot Seat with Wally George" Intro 

We're not sure what kind of drugs Josh Fadem takes to make him the comic genius that he is, but we don't want any part of them. (Generally, we've always chosen hugs over drugs. We're pussies like that.) But whatever they are, we hope he never stops doing them!



If the above video tickled your fancy -- and frankly, if it didn't, we aren't entirely sure how you found your way to this website -- then head over to the UCB this Friday night for the live, in-your-face version of The Hot Seat with Wally George, starring Josh Fadem and Chad Fogland and constructed by Eva Anderson. (11:30pm, $5)

Reserve your tickets here.
Tuesday
Feb202007

General Dispatches from The Groundlings, Part 3

Stage

From time to time, Miss Dorien Davies will be allowing us a secret glimpse into her life as she takes the Advanced level course at The Groundlings. This is her third dispatch. The first can be found here. The second, here.

Advanced is like an old-timey water pump that you crank for a week to get three drops out of. Actually, three drops is being kind of generous. Some people from my class don't even have three rewrites from three weeks of cranking. But, I'm pretty glass-half-full. Because, when it comes down to it, all each of us really needs, is two or three strong pieces to put in our March 12th show. Something that will make us stand out.



The three rewrites that I got on Sunday, brings me up to a total of eleven. Which sounds like a lot but means nothing. Because when my teacher sees those sketches put up again she could hate them all, putting me back to a square one. Now, being a bit of a control freak, I'm doing everything in my power to avoid that, but in this case it's not all up to me. Such is the nature of the co-write.

Co-writes are ultimately great. They show that you are easy to work with. And co-writes are a lot more fun than sitting at your desk by yourself. I'll be the first to tell you, I do really well at the first passes of my co-writes. Of the twelve co-writes that I've put up, I've gotten ten rewrites. Of my five solo-writes, only one, (and how I love it so). But, what this ultimately means is that I'm doing a lot of conceding and a lot of driving. And, I ask you, why does everyone have to live in the valley and only be free around rush hour? Another complication is that I feel like some people don't give priority to a rewrite when there is a possibility of putting something new up. The logic of which seems totally backward to me, because one green light is better than a big question mark.

When attacking a co-write rewrite, ideally both writers are in the same room. Scheduling, motivation, health, spouses and children (yes, two people in my class have wives, kids and full time jobs) prevent this. So there is the "hey, let me take a pass at it and send it back to you" strategy. Or the ever so pleasant, "lets do it on the phone, while I keep telling you to hold that thought, cause I'm still typing" strategy. Neither of which are really that fun. I love the interaction of a writer's meeting and improving when we get stuck. I think that's why my solo-writes can be stale some times. I like warm bodies and get bored all by myself. It must come through in my writing.

My biggest challenge, though, is realizing that unless I crank out six spectacular solo-writes this week (which isn't gonna' happen), the success of my first Advanced show is going to depend on my classmates, which overall is probably a good exercise for me. Because although I'm a little fearful of letting this first show's outcome be at the mercy of those guys, a lot of them are really talented and more than capable of putting up great shows.

For me, it is a lesson of trust. And to be honest, sometimes my cranking arm gets a little tired doing it all by myself.
Monday
Feb192007

Show Recap: America's Best Comic, 2.17.07

Trio

We can't think of a better way to celebrate the forcefully conjoined birthdays of the American Presidents with the baddest-assed hair styles -- up top or down under -- than with a recap of the final episode of this year's "America's Best Comic" competition that took place at the UCB last Saturday night.



The night opened with host Possum (Tom Sharpe in overalls and a mustache), the 5th wheel on the Blue Collar Comedy Tour Used RV of Hilarity, warming up the crowd with a few classics delivered in his Southern Drawl. He followed each punchline with a brief but extremely-detailed description of why each joke was funny, letting the audience behind-the-overalls to show how an artist creates. Before bringing out the two finalists, Possum introduced a short video showcasing the comics that have been cut along the way.

First cut was Mr. Polite (Matt Besser in glasses and buttoned-down bookworm-wear), who bowed out of the competition after feeling that comedy was just too darn mean.

Next cut was Sal Montero (voiced by Howard Kremer, maybe?), an enormously fat Italian who had the bad luck of trying a new dieting pill before his performance. Unfortunately, one of the side effects of the pill was invisibility, and all of his material was visual gags. He was disqualified for being invisible.

86-year old Ben Alterman (Andy Daly as an old man) was next up, a surprisingly dirty comic, who relied on observational humor from his nursing home. He was disqualified because of death.

Dant Phant (Matt Besser in a fah-laming persona), whose hilarious gay Korean accent overshadowed any rehearsed jokes he may have told, was last cut.

Following the video, Possum brought out the first of that night's celebrity judges: head writer for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Chocolate Puddin' (Andy Daly dressed like a 10-year old carrying some kind of toy plane). Puddin' explained how he got in a horrible accident that left him virtually brain-dead, and all he could do was watch The Tonight Show. One night he thought, "I could write that!", and indeed he could.

The second judge was Al Franken (James Adomian in another of his spot-on impressions), who thought judging the contest would be a good way to start his newly-announced bid for a Minnesotan Senate seat.

PopeThe final judge was Pope Benedict XVI (Matt Besser in a mostly red pope outfit, entering the stage to some hip-hop music) who tried out his new Gay Test with a few audience members before answering Possum's question about the Pope's stance on condom use by twirling a condom full of "condom juice" over the audience's heads, shouting "You trust it?!" the whole time.

The competition was ready to start ... but first, another video. This time a comic challenge. For the challenge, the two finalists had to go to an open mike and steal material without getting caught. Jason Yellow (Matt Besser blind, deaf, without arms and shouting) and Jerry O'Hearn (Andy Daly in business casual-wear) sat in the back of the room, taking notes while other open-mikers performed. When it was their turn, they performed the exact same joke, almost word-for-word, to the audience. O'Hearn lost the challenge when one of the other comics noticed he wasn't a 40-year old woman.

JerryWith that out of the way, it was time for the first finalist on the night: Jerry O'Hearn. If anyone's seen an O'Hearn performance, then they realize it's kind of tough to recap. He didn't tell any jokes. And he didn't have any opinions. But man, was he hilarious. For those unfamiliar, this post by O'Hearn over at AST is probably the best example. After the set, the judges commented up from the booth: Chocolate Puddin' giving him 10 monkeys ("out of how many?" "Well, how many are there?"), The Pope loving his lack of opinion, and Al Franken giving a 5.

Before Jason Yellow's performance, there was time for one more videotaped comic challenge. This time the challenge took the duo to Universal Studios were they tried to deflect heckles. Jerry O'Hearn won this challenge by attacking a woman's choice of dress ("What did you do? Buy those with money?").

Jason Yellow -- blind, deaf, and armless -- came out and did his usual set of yelling, facing the wrong way, kicking Possum, drinking some water, checking his set list, and saying how hard it was to do observational humor without any tools of observation. He's performed this a few times, and it hasn't changed a whole lot, but somehow it hasn't lost any of its comedic powery. The judges announced their decisions: Chocolate Puddin' gave him 10 million monkeys, The Pope gave him a thumbs down, and Al Franken straddled the fence with another 5.

Possum declared a tie, meaning it was up to America to decide. But before they got to the ballots, it was time to bring out a special surprise, last year's winner Catastrophe (Brandon Johnson), an energy-filled DEF Comedy Jam comic who was topical, indie, and kept on asking the crowd to "give it up to" someone, causing about ten applause breaks during his performance.

DuoFinally, Possum came back out with the finalists and announced the winner. Jerry O'Hearn was disqualified because he didn't tell one joke during the contest, meaning America's Best Comic was awarded by default to Jason Yellow. But wait a second. O'Hearn noticed something strange about Yellow. When asked why he was able to hear his name when Possum announced the winner, Jason responded with an Alien-esque projectile attack from his stomach. After some confusion, it was revealed that Jason Yellow wasn't blind, deaf, or armless, meaning he was also disqualified from competition. With no winner declared, Al Franken took the stage, gave a short speech, and awarded the trophy to himself. On his way out, he told ex-co-writer Tom Davis to suck it.

At long last, this recap is over.

(Photos from Matt Besser's website and this flickr account, all from past shows.)