The Trailer Park Boys (and Hopefully Conky) Are Coming to Town Next February

Categories: Comedy

The Canadian comedy trio known as the Trailer Park Boys are something of an anomaly in my pop culture family. My brother and I became absolutely obsessed with the drug dealing antics of Nova Scotia's most famous white trash as soon as we saw our first episode buried deep in Netflix's streaming service. My parents, however, have trouble getting over the fact that the boys live such desolate lives in pockets of bliss.

Plus, they use more blue language than a drunken longshoreman.

Still, it's funny enough to keep our parents watching and even quoting it right along with us.

Ricky, Julian and Bubbles (and hopefully Conky) are so popular that they've even come back from the dead countless times to record new seasons and specials for Canadian TV and Netflix after they swore they had done their last episode. Now that they still have a huge fanbase and a ninth season in the works, they are going on the road, and that includes a stop in Dallas.

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Second City's 55th Anniversary Tour Shows It Still Knows How to Create First-Rate Comedy

Categories: Comedy

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Kristen Miccoli, courtesy of AT&T Performing Arts Center

One of the biggest regrets of this comedy nerd's life was not taking the opportunity to see The Second City during my only two visits to Chicago.

The first missed opportunity took place during a Boy Scout trip when landmarks like the Museum of Science and Industry and Comiskey Park were deemed more appropriate places for a "morally straight" teenager to visit. The second took place when I could afford my own travel expenses to visit friends in Illinois. Unfortunately, they lived outside of the city and viewed venturing into Chicago in the same way that the apes from Planet of the Apes viewed wandering into the Forbidden Zone without a permission slip from Dr. Zaius.

Fate corrected that mistake by finally bringing some of the Second City's rising stars to my vicinity with the Second City 55th Anniversary Tour, which premiered the first of three shows last night at the Dallas City Performance Hall.

As they explain in their show, the goal of their sketches and scenes aren't just to make you laugh. They are mini-monuments to the art of human relationships and reflections on this insane world that we pretend to view as normal or "the way things are."


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Cyanide & Happiness Show Premieres Live This Wednesday at Alamo Drafthouse

Categories: Comedy

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Show premiere -- Nov. 12, 2014 (live), Nov. 13, 2014 (online)
For fans of the overwhelmingly funny, sometimes depressing, always deranged stick figure world of Cyanide & Happiness, this is the moment we've all been waiting for -- the world premiere of its new show. This first season will feature 11 weekly episodes (with a depressing one mixed in -- an ode to the comic strips), each running about 12 minutes long and debuting on Wednesdays (except for episode 1, which hits the website this Thursday). Each episode will be a collection of longer-than-average shorts, and some episodes may even be several parts. Leading up to this, the C&H guys have been pumping out weekly shorts since fall of last year, which have been a big hit with viewers. "Fans have been hugely excited for the shorts," says Dave McElfatrick, co-founder of C&H. "Every week we're kind of panicking about how they'll react to them. But nope, everything always turns out swell with them. We get a great response from the fans. Which is...we're very grateful for every week. It's been overwhelmingly positive." "Junk Mail" and "Confession" are a couple of their most popular. Fans even demanded the original whistling tune from "Junk Mail" be made into a ringtone. (It was.) But the guys are ready to place the shorts on hold for a bit to concentrate on their full-length series episodes.

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Comedy's Not Cute: Rachel Bloom Talks About Being Honest with Pop Music and Why She Likes Ray Bradbury

Categories: Comedy

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Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury, the comedy music video that gave comedian and writer Rachel Bloom a career, smashed an untapped nerve with a sledgehammer.

The NSFW ode used a teen pop sound to celebrate one of the greatest sci-fi writers (he always called himself a "fantasy" writer) of all time. Thanks to some unique timing to Bradbury's birthday and Bloom's powerful singing and comedic voice, it racked up over 600,000 hits in a little under a week.

"I guess what I expected was it would get some attention and really establish me as a comedy writer and a performer," she said from her home in Los Angeles. "The way it went viral was a surprise to me because I didn't think Bradbury was a topical issue. It's not like he just released a new book."

Perhaps part of the reason it and all of her other music videos have such a massive fan base is that they resonate beyond just being funny or finding colorful ways to describe having sex with Bradbury's most famous works. They hijack the tired pop sound that's been used to express cliches of love, loss and being a sex symbol. Her songs carry the thoughts and feelings her listeners might actually have, whether it's about being the unpopular kid in school with I Steal Pets (from the Popular People), honest feelings about rejection in We Don't Need a Man and Pictures of Your Dick or dealing with obsessive compulsive disorder in The OCDance. This Saturday at 8 p.m., you can see Bloom performing stand-up and some of her classic songs at the Dallas Comedy House.

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Found Footage Festival Returns to Texas Theatre With an Armload of Awkward

I never thought the DVD would fall from grace so quickly. The digital media revolution was inevitable but who knew it would happen so fast? Places like Netflix, Crackle and Hulu haven't just eliminated the need for a DVD player to watch movies. Traditional broadcast and cable television may very soon become obsolete. At this rate, it won't be long before you won't need a television to watch your favorite shows. Someone can just beam a broadcast directly into your central cortex and you can watch anything you've ever wanted until your mind literally melts from all the radiation such a signal would produce.

It's a shame because it wasn't that long ago when VHS tapes were still around and even the most horrid productions gave us hours of awkward, hilarious entertainment. Thankfully, the folks behind The Found Footage Festival are out there collecting these relics of poorly lit productions from garage sales and thrift shops to present them the way God intended them to be seen: in a theater by a crowd of drunken voyeurs.

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He'll Put a Spell on You: Hypnotist Flip Orley Talks About Putting People Under for a Living

Categories: Comedy


The first time Flip Orley got on a stage and used his hypnotic powers to make people do his bidding, he himself had to be coaxed into doing it.

Of course, it wasn't with a swinging pocket watch or a spinning spiral. Sometimes, nagging someone enough is its own form of hypnotism.

Orley, a comic hypnotist from Lafayette, La. who has become a regular fixture at the Addison Improv, dabbed in the practice throughout high school and college as a student of psychology, communications and general social sciences. He also did stand-up on the side and never thought of melding the two until a friend nagged him into trying it.

"The conversation came around often enough that I got aggravated and said, 'If I do it on stage once, will you leave it alone and never bring it up again?" Orley says from his home in Louisiana.

When asked why he didn't just hypnotize his friend to get him to stop asking, he laughed and says, "Actually, I never thought of that. That's a pretty good idea."

That night, he had to turn people away from the stage who wanted to be put into a trance and made to pretend they were Superman or made to believe that he's just a floating head. He says he never even expected to get a volunteer.

"I assumed I was going to say I'm going to do hypnosis and people would look at me like an idiot," he says. "So when a ton of people rushed the stage, I was surprised. It shocked the hell out of me."

Almost 25 years later, Orley travels from stage to stage to put people under and make them into human marionettes for audiences' amusements and he returns to the Addison Improv (http://addison.improv.com) for a Halloween weekend run.


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Saffy Herndon: Dallas' Kid Comedian

Categories: Comedy

If you're up on the local comedy scene, which seems to rotate around the nuclear hub of the Dallas Comedy House, you may have found yourself snort-laughing at jokes coming out of youngster, Saffy Herndon. The 9-year-old comedian, who tells jokes about everything from cartoons to her dad's drinking habits to adopting highways. She's making the observations other kids might make, but with better comedic timing and the knowing, devious smile of a 4th grader who knows how funny she is. And Dallas audiences tend to agree, as she performs at many of the popular open mic nights, as well as in line-ups at DCH, and the Kessler Theater.

Our videographer, Sarah Passon, caught a recent set at DCH.

Before His Addison Improv Show, Lavell Crawford Discusses Traveling 325 Days Per Year

Categories: Comedy

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Courtesy of John Johnson

Some comics travel for their trade because of their love of the art form or some inner need for attention or the hope of delivering to mankind a new plateau of understanding through the power of laughter.

Lavell Crawford has a brutally honest reason for what keeps him going in comedy, an answer that perfectly matches his stage persona.

"I got a family and rent and I gotta take care of my wife and kids," he says with a laugh. "So bills keep me going."

Still, it's obvious he wouldn't be spending 325 days on the road for the last 25 years if he didn't enjoy being on a stage and he's got a new legion of fans to perform for after getting plenty of TV face time on Last Comic Standing and AMC's Breaking Bad as Saul Goodman's beefy henchman Huell Babineaux. Crawford is in town to do a string of shows starting tonight at the Addison Improv.

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Kovacs Award Recipient Harry Shearer Talks Richard Nixon, Spinal Tap and Smart Comedy

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Photos by Danny Gallagher

The great comedians know that they don't have to create fiction, they simply have to pluck out the insane bits of a world trying to wrestle with its sanity and present it in the way a carnival barker would just before he pulls back the curtain to reveal some horrid mistake of human nature.

Actor and comedian Harry Shearer is one such performer, obsessed with presenting the raw, naked truth of politics and media whether it's the invasiveness of reality TV when he helped write director Albert Brooks' first movie Real Life or the inefficient preparation and inhumane response that led to massive flooding in New Orleans with his documentary The Big Uneasy. Even This is Spinal Tap, the seminal rock comedy movie that launched the mockumentary genre, sprang from real moments.

"We didn't make anything up in that movie," Shearer says atAMS Pictures headquarters in Dallas. "It was stuff that either happened to us or people we knew. Editing reality to get the good part is sort the ideal version of my job."

The Spinal Tap and Simpsons star recently turned his sharp eye for the satirical to one of American history's characters who always seemed to good to be real, former President Richard M. Nixon, for a new web series for My Damn Channel called Nixon's the One. He'll premiere the series tonight at the Angelika Film Center as part of the Dallas VideoFest where he'll receive the festival's Ernie Kovacs Award.

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Comedian Tig Notaro Brings Her Heart of Gold to Dallas This October

Categories: Comedy

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Ruthie Wyatt
Tig's coming to town!

By Sarah Wyatt

"Once you're on track that is really and truly YOUR track, you can't help but make inspired choices in life," writes Tig Notaro in our email conversation -the Caps Lock hers.

Tig Notaro is a good person, a good friend, an honest person, and a very talented comedian. Notaro is very open about her career, life, and general quirks. She's the kind of person that has an entire section of her website dedicated to sharing secrets about her life. Her latest secret? "I love porridge with sliced bananas on top."

And she's coming to Dallas October 17.

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