Posts tagged Comedy
Newsweek’s 1986 cover profile of Robin Williams, King of Comedy: “You feel you are in the presence of a benign but not easily known soul.” 
Welcome to the fast-forward world of Robin Williams, who, at 33, is the unofficial comic laureate of his generation. At a time when live comedy is undergoing a renaissance of popularity in America, Williams reigns as comedy’s lunatic king. It is almost a decade since this computer-quick talent exploded into instant stardom as the suspendered alien on “Mork and Mindy,” and any doubts about his staying power have long since been erased. This year alone he singlehandedly kept the nation awake with his rude wit on the Oscar slumbercast; he cohosted the successful Comic Relief benefit for the homeless with his pals Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg and made an appearance at the Amnesty International concert as well. His fifth movie, “The Best of Times,” came out last winter, and his latest, “Club Paradise,” opens in mid-July. Also in the can is his searing, dead-serious performance in Saul Bellow’s “Seize the Day,” which may get a theatrical release before appearing on PBS in the spring. He’s about to film his touring concert show for HBO at the Kennedy Center in Washington. “60 Minutes” is featuring Williams in its new fall season. It’s safe to say that if a straw poll were taken of anyone under, say, 45, Williams would likely be voted the funniest man in America.
It’s not the he tells the funniest jokes. How many Williams one-liners can you quote? Maybe “Cocaine is just God’s way of telling you you have too much money.” No, what Williams evokes in people is not simply laughter but a sense of amazement at the spectacle of a brain on constant spin-cycle. Class stand-up comics from Bob Hope to George Carlin to Jay Leno are stars, but Williams is a shooting star. The mystery is in the motion: what miracle of the synapses got him from point A to point Z? At once a satirist, a comedian and a superb actor, this one-man repertory company dashes from mask to mask, voice to voice, like a man possessed by comic demons. And none of his material is written—he doesn’t even like to listen to tapes of his show afterward. Watching Williams share a stage at Comic Relief with such deliberate old pros as Sid Caesar and Henny Youngman is a lesson in the aerodynamics of comedy: with Williams, comedy entered the jet age. No small part of his excitement is the daredevil appeal: how high can this pilot fly before he spins out of orbit entirely?

Newsweek’s 1986 cover profile of Robin Williams, King of Comedy: “You feel you are in the presence of a benign but not easily known soul.” 

Welcome to the fast-forward world of Robin Williams, who, at 33, is the unofficial comic laureate of his generation. At a time when live comedy is undergoing a renaissance of popularity in America, Williams reigns as comedy’s lunatic king. It is almost a decade since this computer-quick talent exploded into instant stardom as the suspendered alien on “Mork and Mindy,” and any doubts about his staying power have long since been erased. This year alone he singlehandedly kept the nation awake with his rude wit on the Oscar slumbercast; he cohosted the successful Comic Relief benefit for the homeless with his pals Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg and made an appearance at the Amnesty International concert as well. His fifth movie, “The Best of Times,” came out last winter, and his latest, “Club Paradise,” opens in mid-July. Also in the can is his searing, dead-serious performance in Saul Bellow’s “Seize the Day,” which may get a theatrical release before appearing on PBS in the spring. He’s about to film his touring concert show for HBO at the Kennedy Center in Washington. “60 Minutes” is featuring Williams in its new fall season. It’s safe to say that if a straw poll were taken of anyone under, say, 45, Williams would likely be voted the funniest man in America.

It’s not the he tells the funniest jokes. How many Williams one-liners can you quote? Maybe “Cocaine is just God’s way of telling you you have too much money.” No, what Williams evokes in people is not simply laughter but a sense of amazement at the spectacle of a brain on constant spin-cycle. Class stand-up comics from Bob Hope to George Carlin to Jay Leno are stars, but Williams is a shooting star. The mystery is in the motion: what miracle of the synapses got him from point A to point Z? At once a satirist, a comedian and a superb actor, this one-man repertory company dashes from mask to mask, voice to voice, like a man possessed by comic demons. And none of his material is written—he doesn’t even like to listen to tapes of his show afterward. Watching Williams share a stage at Comic Relief with such deliberate old pros as Sid Caesar and Henny Youngman is a lesson in the aerodynamics of comedy: with Williams, comedy entered the jet age. No small part of his excitement is the daredevil appeal: how high can this pilot fly before he spins out of orbit entirely?

Actor and comedian Robin Williams, 63, was found dead in his home in Triburon, California.
Williams’s wife, Susan Schneider, confirmed the news Monday evening. “This morning, I lost my husband and best friend, while the world lost one of its most beloved artists and beautiful human beings. I am utterly heartbroken,” she wrote in a statement. “On behalf of Robin’s family, we are asking for privacy during our time of profound grief. As he is remembered, it is our hope the focus will not be on Robin’s death, but on the countless moments of joy and laughter he gave to millions.”
Williams first gained widespread acclaim as an actor in 1978 for his quirky performance as the alien Mork on Happy Days spin-off program Mork & Mindy. In 1998, he won the Academy Award for best supporting actor for his role in Good Will Hunting, as therapist Sean Maguire.Williams also received Oscar nominations for his performances in Good Morning, Vietnam (1987), Dead Poets Society (1989) and The Fisher King (1991).
The Chicago-born actor attended the prestigious program at Juilliard, and was just one of two pupils accepted that year. (The other was Christopher Reeve, who became a dear friend.)
Williams’s distinctive humor brought laughter to millions. As an actor he was known for a quick wit and impulsive comedic approach. Producers would reportedly leave blank moments in scripts so that Williams could do as he did best: improvise. “No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world,” the actor once said.
Williams had suffered from substance abuse problems since the 1980s, notably with cocaine and alcohol, and was sober for mroe than two decades before a relapse in 2006. In July 2014, Williams checked into a Minnesota rehab to “fine-tune and focus on his continued commitment” to sobriety, according to his publicist. As of late the actor had been battling severe depression, according to a statement released Monday evening by his press rep, Mara Buxbaum.
Last fall, Williams debuted his CBS comedy, The Crazy Ones, which wasn’t picked up for a second season. He had recently signed on to resurrect his role as Mrs. Doubtfire in a sequel. The third installment of the Night at the Museum franchise, featuring Williams as the fast-talkin’ Teddy Roosevelt, is set for release this December.
Fellow actors and comedians took to social media to express their sadness over the loss. Fans are also sharing condolences on the last photo Williams posted to Instagram, of him and his daughter, Zelda.

Actor and comedian Robin Williams, 63, was found dead in his home in Triburon, California.

Williams’s wife, Susan Schneider, confirmed the news Monday evening. “This morning, I lost my husband and best friend, while the world lost one of its most beloved artists and beautiful human beings. I am utterly heartbroken,” she wrote in a statement. “On behalf of Robin’s family, we are asking for privacy during our time of profound grief. As he is remembered, it is our hope the focus will not be on Robin’s death, but on the countless moments of joy and laughter he gave to millions.”

Williams first gained widespread acclaim as an actor in 1978 for his quirky performance as the alien Mork on Happy Days spin-off program Mork & Mindy. In 1998, he won the Academy Award for best supporting actor for his role in Good Will Hunting, as therapist Sean Maguire.Williams also received Oscar nominations for his performances in Good Morning, Vietnam (1987), Dead Poets Society (1989) and The Fisher King (1991).

The Chicago-born actor attended the prestigious program at Juilliard, and was just one of two pupils accepted that year. (The other was Christopher Reeve, who became a dear friend.)

Williams’s distinctive humor brought laughter to millions. As an actor he was known for a quick wit and impulsive comedic approach. Producers would reportedly leave blank moments in scripts so that Williams could do as he did best: improvise. “No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world,” the actor once said.

Williams had suffered from substance abuse problems since the 1980s, notably with cocaine and alcohol, and was sober for mroe than two decades before a relapse in 2006. In July 2014, Williams checked into a Minnesota rehab to “fine-tune and focus on his continued commitment” to sobriety, according to his publicist. As of late the actor had been battling severe depression, according to a statement released Monday evening by his press rep, Mara Buxbaum.

Last fall, Williams debuted his CBS comedy, The Crazy Ones, which wasn’t picked up for a second season. He had recently signed on to resurrect his role as Mrs. Doubtfire in a sequel. The third installment of the Night at the Museum franchise, featuring Williams as the fast-talkin’ Teddy Roosevelt, is set for release this December.

Fellow actors and comedians took to social media to express their sadness over the loss. Fans are also sharing condolences on the last photo Williams posted to Instagram, of him and his daughter, Zelda.

Here’s a basic rule: if you’re reading or watching a Shakespeare play, and you’re not imagining the actors standing in front of a mosh pit of jeering Londoners waiting to throw vegetables at the stage, you’re doing it wrong.

Shakespeare might have written the best works in the English language, or given us profound insight into the nature of humanity, or whatever — but his works wouldn’t have survived to our day if he hadn’t been popular when he was alive, and he wouldn’t have been popular when he was alive if he hadn’t been able to please the crowd. And that includes a lot of dirty jokes. A lot.

Sometimes in incredibly inappropriate places. We’re here to rescue a few of those for you, and retroactively embarrass the heck out of your fourteen-year-old self, who had to stand up in English class and read things that, in retrospect, are absolutely filthy.

This isn’t about the stuff that always does crack fourteen-year-olds up in English class, but is totally innocent: the “bring me my long sword, ho!” sort of thing.

But the kids who lose it every time the word ‘ho’ is uttered are closer to the spirit of Shakespeare than the teacher who demands they treat the words like museum pieces.


Sure, it would be awkward for teachers to explain the Elizabethan double entendres to their students — but pretending they don’t exist makes Shakespeare seem unnecessarily stuffy and difficult.

So we’re going to start with the most obvious innuendoes, and move on to some seriously advanced sex punnery that is probably going to blow your mind.

This election was more fun than 2008 because Sarah Palin was just a caricature. She was a slow-moving varmint. Mitt Romney, after a lifetime of wanting to be president, was like a thoroughbred dressage horse—and as an admirer of all things equestrian, I found him more enjoyable to lasso.
Rob Delaney is in this week’s Newsweek writing about—what else?—the campaign!
Friend of Newsweek tumblr Amanda McCall (The Wendy Williams Show) and Parks and Recreation funny-guy Ben Schwartz (Jean-Ralphio!) have a new book out this week, Looking on the Bright Side with Baby Animals, which is a follow up to their second book, Asking Awkward Questions with Baby Animals, which followed their first best-seller, Breaking Bad News with Baby Animals, all of which we have long fantasized about plastering all over the office doors of high-level Newsweek executives. Anyway: we asked them to answer some of our burning questions about baby animals, because, well, we think they’re funny. Also, because Amanda once wrote a book called, “Hold My Gold: A White Girl’s Guide to the Hip-Hop.” Please love them.
NWK Tumblr: Do you really think our leg will grow back?Ben:  Well, that’s the best part of our new book. It prevents you from ever having to ‘think’ about things like that. In fact, it prevents you from having to think about anything at all!
Is there a particular baby animal that’s best for breaking bad news?Amanda: When we started writing our first book, and even into our second book, we thought all baby animals were equally helpful. But now we know that every baby animal has its own particular skill set.
Ben: For example, kittens are good for relationship problems, while puppies are better for medical emergencies. For crime and other legal matters? Baby bunnies. God, they’re good.
Could your new book help Barack Obama handle the economy?Amanda: If Obama used baby animal postcards in all his negotiations, every American citizen would have free healthcare and drive a Bentley.
Who would i give this book to as a gift?Amanda: Our books are for everyone. Even Kardashians. In fact, I’m convinced that if this book came out a month earlier, Kim and Kris would still be together.
What’s the most over-rated animal?Ben: Humans.Amanda: Well, between us, cute little baby bears can be real divas.

Friend of Newsweek tumblr Amanda McCall (The Wendy Williams Show) and Parks and Recreation funny-guy Ben Schwartz (Jean-Ralphio!) have a new book out this week, Looking on the Bright Side with Baby Animals, which is a follow up to their second book, Asking Awkward Questions with Baby Animals, which followed their first best-seller, Breaking Bad News with Baby Animals, all of which we have long fantasized about plastering all over the office doors of high-level Newsweek executives. Anyway: we asked them to answer some of our burning questions about baby animals, because, well, we think they’re funny. Also, because Amanda once wrote a book called, “Hold My Gold: A White Girl’s Guide to the Hip-Hop.” Please love them.

NWK Tumblr: Do you really think our leg will grow back?
Ben:  Well, that’s the best part of our new book. It prevents you from ever having to ‘think’ about things like that. In fact, it prevents you from having to think about anything at all!

Is there a particular baby animal that’s best for breaking bad news?
Amanda: When we started writing our first book, and even into our second book, we thought all baby animals were equally helpful. But now we know that every baby animal has its own particular skill set.

Ben: For example, kittens are good for relationship problems, while puppies are better for medical emergencies. For crime and other legal matters? Baby bunnies. God, they’re good.

Could your new book help Barack Obama handle the economy?
Amanda: If Obama used baby animal postcards in all his negotiations, every American citizen would have free healthcare and drive a Bentley.

Who would i give this book to as a gift?
Amanda: Our books are for everyone. Even Kardashians. In fact, I’m convinced that if this book came out a month earlier, Kim and Kris would still be together.

What’s the most over-rated animal?
Ben: Humans.
Amanda: Well, between us, cute little baby bears can be real divas.

newyorker:

In this week’s magazine, Tina Fey writes about the lessons she learned as a writer on “Saturday Night Live.” Fey and other women use the ladies’ room; “the men urinate in cups.” Harvard graduates write “commercial parodies about people wearing barrels after the 1929 stock-market crash”; improvisers from Second City create “loud drag characters named Vicki and Staci screaming their catchphrase over and over.” Click over to the site for more vintage Tina Fey video.

Oh, Tina. Best quotes:

"Not all the men at ‘S.N.L.’ whizzed in cups. But four or five out of twenty did, so the men have to own that one"

"Only in comedy, by the way, does an obedient white girl from the suburbs count as diversity."

Six months ago I was getting booed by my own audience when I would make jokes about Obama. I remember one show I had to say to my audience, ‘He’s the president, not your boyfriend.’
Bill Maher, interviewed by Joe Scarborough, for our ‘Interview Issue’