This Week Around the Industry in Comedy Stories From Michael Ian Black, T.J. Miller, John C. Reilly and Moontower Comedy Festival (and more!)

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The stories people in the business are talking about around the country in comedy… 

. . . . . Earlier today we posted a great interview with T.J. Miller about cannabis, comedy, and his recent trip to the Oscars, and it’s a great read.  We also talked about the pilot he’s producing for HBO with Lonely Island based on his Gorburger character.  It’s looking like we’ll get to see that in the not to distant future, and T.J. is also preparing for his upcoming role in the new Marvel movie, Deadpool, which is a part of the X-Men series. We asked him if he had seen the reports that he’s going to be directing the film. T.J. confirms he is not directing the movie — that’s Tim Miller, no relation.  “I know (laughs) can you imagine?  That really would probably ruin FOX. Around town.  People would be like, are they fucking idiots?  People would start pulling money out of projects, and moving things to other studios.”

T.J. didn’t tell us details about his character, but he did say he is in the preparation stages and will start shooting in April. “I’m cutting weight for the role right now. And we don’t have a script because that’s kind of how this world works now. Sometimes I think it really helps that i’m an improviser because you’er so rarely given a script until the movie’s about to go in this Marvel universe.  And yeah its exciting. We’re going to shoot in April.” He hasn’t met Ryan Reynolds yet but, but he loves the director, and is looking forward to the experience.   With all the great roles T.J. has been getting, he hasn’t been able to do as much stand up as he wants to be doing, which is why he’s looking forward to headlining Cannabash 2015 this Friday in Denver.

. . . . . Dave Attell is putting on one of the best shows in New York City, and his most recent Comedy Underground Live Show on February 17 was no exception and shows exactly why New York loves Dave Attel so much.  There were amazing performances on the ticket, three huge drop ins, a raffle to raise money for someone in need, and a wedding proposal.   The raffle was to raise money to benefit the family of  the family of Dk’Qwan “Shaq” Garvin who worked the door/security for the Cellar and Village Underground, .  Dk’Qwan passed away on January 29, and the raffle raised $1,000 for his family.

And further proof that Dave has such a big heart –when a fan named Noah contacted him via Facebook a few weeks before the show to ask if he could propose to his girlfriend Jacinda at the show, Dave said of course and wanted to make the night special. At the end of the raffle while Dave and Gilbert Gottfried were still on stage, Attell said he needed to call out one more ticket for a special prize.  Yep. Noah’s ticket. Noah goes on stage, Dave asks if he was there with anyone and tells Jacinda to come up on stage… he starts joking around with Noah about how long they’ve been dating and then says he should do something about it…. Noah gets down on one knee, Jacinda starts crying — she said “Yes” — and there ya have it, a newly engaged couple kissing on stage between Gilbert Gottfried and Dave Attell… Nothing like a little dirty comedy to bring out the romance in people.

The performances were amazing, Rachel Feinstein, Gilbert Gottfried, Sherrod Small, Kurt Metzger, Liza Treyger, Monroe Martin III, Big Jay Oakerson were just some of the giant names on the ticket, and then on top of an already amazing lineup, some SNL 40 royalty did drop ins– Colin Quinn, Pete Davidson and Michael Che all showed up and performed.  The moral of this story is that you never want to miss a chance to be in the audience for a Dave Attell Comedy Underground Live show.

. . . . . Michael Ian Black launched a podcast this week with called How to Be Amazing.  In the new podcast Michael talks with successful people in various fields and asks them how they got to be so great.  Michael told us that he wanted to see if he could learn more about creativity and craft, from people in different fields, and he’s already been inspired by one of his upcoming guests to start learning how to be a better cook.  Four are already available with many more to come.  We’ll be posting more from our interview with Michael shortly, and in the meantime you can start listening through  Right now you can hear Michael talking with the author of Eat Pray Love, a tony award winning musican, and 18 year old who runs her own magazine, and comedian, writer and actor Bob Odenkirk.  Future episodes will feature astronaut Mike Massimino, Tom Colicchio, Miranda July and statistician Nate Silver.

. . . . .  Naked Comedy is bringing Picture This to New York City on March 3rd!  If you’ve never been to a Picture This show (currently running in Los Angeles in Seattle) its an experience unlike any other show.  Comedians (and sometimes storytellers and actors) take to the stage to perform, and while they are doing their set,  an animator or artist is drawing whatever they want to, relating to the performance, and the drawing is projected on the screen behind the comic.  Every show is 100% unique because it’s all about whatever happens between the comedian and the animator.  The first Picture This will take place at Littlefield in Brooklyn to kick things off, and then the show will settle in to a more permanent home.  The first New York show will feature six comics– Mike Lawrence, Ben Kronberg, Dave Hill and others– as well as six illustrators including Matteo Lane, and Brian Brinkman who has animated for The Tonight Show, MTV, and HBO’s The Life and Times of Tim among other things.

. . . . . Kurt Braunohler is hard at work, back on his Roustabout tour supporting his Comedy Central digital series. Kurt took a Jetski last summer and rode from Chicago to New Orleans, all the way down the Mississippi to raise money for a great cause (you can read all the details here). Kurt had a great set on Late Night with Seth Meyers last night, and now he’s heading to Houston, Boston, North Carolina, and Georgia over the next month.  You can watch all nine episodes of Roustabout on now.

. . . . . Lots of news from Moontower this week and we’ll be posting a full story on it, but to give you a few quick facts, Dr. Katz Professional Therapist Live is coming to Moontower celebrating its 20th Anniversary with amazing guests, including Andy Kindler, Emo Philips, Maria Bamford, Dana Gould, Dom Irrera, and Eddie Pepitone.  Everyone at Moontower is also excited for the arrival of Tim Minchin.  He’s Australian, lives in London and plays to houses of 5 to 10,000 all over the world, but he’s not as well known in Texas.  Festival director  Jim Ritts told us ” he’s one of the most intellectually gifted people I’ve ever seen …I think he has a great chance to be the breakout star at this years festival and [festival-goers] will discover what so many people around the world know.  His take on society… musicianship… he will leave no topic untouched and he is brutally wickedly satirical.  But he’s such an incredibly nice person off stage.”

. . . . . Comedy producer and writer Amy Hawthorne is doing a new show at New York Comedy Club called This Is Being Recorded.  It features two headliners doing what they do and six hot younger comedians running (and recording) their late night showcase sets.  It’s fun for the crowd because they know that even though most of the lineup isn’t famous (yet), they’re getting to see them perform their best, tightest sets.  And they’ll get to say “I saw that live!!” when it makes it on TV. NYCC is a great space to record in.  The crowds are very cool and it’s big enough that the cameras don’t become obtrusive or make the audience feel uncomfortable. The first one will be Feb 24 at New York Comedy Club featuring Greer Barnes, Aaron Berg, Blair Socci, Alexis Guerreros, Casey Balsham, Robby Slowik, Amy Cheapho and Jono Zalay.

. . . . .  Gigglechick Interactive just launched a big exciting project with Tom Papa.  For two years Tom has been doing live shows in New York, and he’s very proud of the shows.  Now you can go to to see the Live Shows, and Tom’s interviews, with Sarah Silverman, Jim Norton, Maria Bamford and others.  You can also get tickets to upcoming shows.  Help them to build the mailing list.  Sign up!

. . . . . John C. Reilly was out promoting Stone Quackers for FXX this week and talked about what he was looking for in this project, and in everything he’s doing career-wise now. He said if it’s not a fun hang, it’s not worth it.  “I was very careful before I agreed to do this, that it would feel similar to my experience on Wreck-It Ralph because I got really spoiled on that, by that director. He gave me a lot of freedom, and it was just fun to be together, and I quickly realized meeting Ben and these guys that this would also be a fun hang. That’s pretty much my criteria at this point for everything in my career.”  Reilly also got into his love for David Lynch, referring to him as a guru for him.  “I practice transcendental meditation and he’s a big proponent of that, so he’s a big inspiration in a lot of ways. He’s literally a guru to me, even though I’ve never met him.”

. . . . . Joe Zimmerman is starting a new monthly at Union Hall in New York City called Deeperness.  Comedians will present sets that explore deep topics from philosophy to current events to personal stories, then sit down for a (possibly quite awkward) “deep talk” with Joe. Joe explains why he wanted to start this kind of show: “Three of my favorite comedians are Maria Bamford, John Oliver, and Bill Burr, who all find ways of being hilarious while hitting on meaningful topics.  But not every crowd necessarily wants the meaningful, so I wanted to do a show where comics are encouraged to hit on the bigger topics (the “deeperness”) by bringing out audiences who simultaneously want that as well.”  The first edition is March 1 featuring Sasheer Zamata, Michelle Wolf, Sheng Wang and Aparna Nancherla.

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