Tag: Comedy and Humor

Comedy via Zoom: It’s the Golden Age of Mugging

Before introducing Maria Bamford, the headliner of a livestreaming comedy show Saturday, Jackie Kashian, her opening act, posed a philosophical question: “Is it possible to warm up an audience on the internet?” A tree falling in the forest does in fact make a sound, but whether a crowd laughs at a joke over Zoom is […]

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Carl Reiner, Multifaceted Master of Comedy, Is Dead at 98

Carl Reiner, who as performer, writer and director earned a place in comedy history several times over, died on Monday night at his home in Beverly Hills. He was 98. His death was confirmed by his daughter, Annie Reiner. Mr. Reiner first attracted national attention in 1950 as Sid Caesar’s multitalented second banana on the […]

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Comfort Viewing: 3 Reasons I Love ‘Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!’

Three seconds into my first episode, I was already confused. “The following advertisement,” a voice-over says, “is intended for Jim Boonie only.” Who is Jim Boonie? Other than a photo of a nondescript individual, we’re given no additional information on who this guy is — or why Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, the driving forces […]

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Five Nonbinary Comics on This Moment: ‘I’m Not Some New Buzzword’

The stand-up comedian Jes Tom has a go-to pronoun joke: “I like when people call me ‘they.’ It makes me feel less lonely.” Tom is part of a small but growing group of comedians that doesn’t exclusively identify with the gender labels of “male” and “female,” and before the pandemic were regularly performing stand-up sets […]

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How Richard Pryor Changed the Way Comedy Sees Police Brutality

Police brutality has a surprisingly long history in comedy. An officer swinging a nightstick was one of the most common images in early comic strips and Charlie Chaplin was always running from the police, dodging clubs and bullets. Those cops were generally portrayed as clownish bullies, and their violence, divorced from any racial context, played […]

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Dave Chappelle’s “8:46” Netflix Special: Three Key References to Know

Dave Chappelle released a lacerating new special, “8:46” — the length of time that a police officer held his knee on George Floyd’s neck as Floyd pleaded for his life — that has become among the first live shows in the Covid era to reckon with the protests gripping the nation. “This is weird,” Chappelle […]

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Yvonne Orji, the ‘Insecure’ Star, Returns Confidently to Stand-Up

Most people know Yvonne Orji as Molly Carter, the driven but self-sabotaging sidekick to Issa Rae’s protagonist on “Insecure,” HBO’s breakout show about black millennial friends in Los Angeles. But as that series nears the end of another season of hookups, breakups and growing pains (the Season 4 finale is on June 14), HBO viewers […]

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Comedy Tonight: ‘S.N.L.’ Then and Now

LAUGH LINES My Life Helping Funny People Be Funnier: A Cultural Memoir By Alan Zweibel A VERY PUNCHABLE FACE A Memoir By Colin Jost It’s not literally true that “Saturday Night Live” has been around forever. But it is true that for two generations of viewers — and, for that matter, for all the members […]

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6 Things to Do at Home This Weekend

Theater/Film ‘Pass Over’ With Added Punch ImageJulian Parker, left, and Jon Michael Hill in “Pass Over.”Credit…Amazon Studios Nwandu hesitated — she had some rewrites planned — but Lee won her over, saying he wanted the script as it was. Five weeks later, in front of 10 cameras and an invited audience of mostly black Chicagoans, […]

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Trump Said, ‘I Have the Best Words.’ Now They’re Hers.

Donald Trump has some ideas about fighting the coronavirus. “We hit the body with a tremendous, whether it’s ultraviolet or just very powerful light,” the president says, to the bafflement of nearby aides. “Supposing, I said, you brought the light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or … in some […]

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Hannah Gadsby’s ‘Douglas’ Doubles Down on the Comedy of Contradiction

One of the least famous but most revealing radical arguments of Hannah Gadsby’s breakthrough special, “Nanette,” is that we should only dress babies in the color blue. Sorry pink. Pointing out how blue is associated with coolness as well as the hottest part of the flame, she said with admiration that it’s full of contradictions. […]

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Steve Carell Charts a Return to TV Comedy With ‘Space Force’

As an actor, Steve Carell has shown remarkable elasticity. He can be an outright dope, like the barely articulate Brick Tamland of “Anchorman,” or a lovable, misapprehended loser, like Michael Scott, his breakthrough role on “The Office.” Occasionally, he has been a sheer terror, like John E. du Pont, the murderous scion he played in […]

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Charlie Brooker Saw All This Coming

LONDON — Charlie Brooker may have been more prepared than most for the coronavirus and the subsequent global lockdown. The creator of the hit sci-fi show “Black Mirror” has been thinking about dystopias for at least a decade, creating worst-case scenarios for each episode. Originally produced by Channel 4 in Britain, the show moved to […]

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Charlie Brooker Saw All This Coming

LONDON — Charlie Brooker may have been more prepared than most for the coronavirus and the subsequent global lockdown. The creator of the hit sci-fi show “Black Mirror” has been thinking about dystopias for at least a decade, creating worst-case scenarios for each episode. Originally produced by Channel 4 in Britain, the show moved to […]

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6 Things to Do This Memorial Day Weekend

Theater Love the World You’re In ImageFrom left, Hill Harper, Quincy Tyler Bernstine, Dierdre Friel and Kevin Isola in a 2018 production of Stephen Adly Guirgis’s “Our Lady of 121st Street.” On Saturday night, an online reading of the play will feature members of the original Off Broadway cast.Credit…Sara Krulwich/The New York Times As the […]

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As Cable TV Fades, Fearing ‘the End of Comedy Central’

Last year there were signs of hope for Comedy Central. Trevor Noah, the host of “The Daily Show” since 2015, had found his footing. New series like “The Other Two” and “South Side” got strong reviews. Awkwafina, the breakout star of “Crazy Rich Asians” and “The Farewell,” came aboard for a new show. Then came […]

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Fred Willard, Comic Actor Who Thrived in Ensembles, Dies at 86

Fred Willard, the Emmy Award-nominated comic actor best known for his scene-stealing roles in Christopher Guest ensemble comedies like “Best in Show” and “Waiting for Guffman,” died on Friday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 86. Mike Eisenstadt, Mr. Willard’s agent, confirmed the death. Mr. Willard played Frank Dunphy, the father of Ty […]

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Want a Show That Goes Places? Try ‘Travel Man’

My 12-year-old son has been watching “Naruto” and has been reading about how a generation grew up with this series and the characters. He’s also loved watching “Community” with us. He asked: What’s a funny ensemble show that has just started that he can watch and grow up with the characters? I know it’s a […]

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In Jerry Stiller, the Rage of Jewish Fathers Found a Hilarious Outlet

Every time Jerry Stiller opened his mouth on “Seinfeld,” it made me laugh. Partly, it was the shock of what came out. Stiller, who died Monday at the age of 92, didn’t speak so much as erupt. His bristling bass instantly changed the energy in the scene, adding ludicrous tension and unmuffled anger that came […]

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Jerry Stiller, Comedian With Enduring Appeal, Is Dead at 92

Jerry Stiller, a classically trained actor who became a comedy star twice — in the 1960s in partnership with his wife, Anne Meara, and in the 1990s with a memorable recurring role on “Seinfeld” — has died. He was 92. His death was confirmed on Monday by his son, the actor Ben Stiller, in a […]

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Broadway Does Mother’s Day: Livestreaming This Weekend

Here are a few of the best events happening Friday through Sunday and how to tune in (all times are Eastern). Yee-Haw, It’s Tim McGraw Friday at 1 p.m. on Amazon Live The country music superstar Tim McGraw will kick off a new Amazon Music livestreaming series on Friday with a performance, in which he’ll […]

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5 New Comedy Specials to Remind You of the Old Normal

“Laughter is the best medicine” is a cliché that has been skewered so many times it’s easy to forget the animating truth behind it. No, a joke will not save us, but it can provide solace, and not just by lightening the mood. In a time when many are isolated and suffering, it’s easy to […]

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The Funny Thing About Depression Is …

THE HILARIOUS WORLD OF DEPRESSION By John Moe Not every book is for everyone, and not every book on depression is for every depressive. But the question that might be asked of any mental health book, regarding its raison d’être, is: Can this help someone? “The Hilarious World of Depression,” by John Moe, the veteran […]

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Jerry Seinfeld Is Making Peace With Nothing: He’s ‘Post-Show Business’

ImageJerry Seinfeld, photographed via FaceTime, by Daniel Arnold in the photographer’s home.Credit…Daniel Arnold for The New York Times Many of us have been wondering lately what Jerry Seinfeld, the sitcom character, would be doing in this current era of home quarantines and social distancing: how his extreme fastidiousness, self-centeredness and constant scrutiny of quotidian details […]

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