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CONGRATULATIONS TO THE 2017 NEW FACES OF COMEDY FOR JUST FOR LAUGHS MONTREAL

07/24/2017 12:37:51 PM

Congratulations to the 2017 New Faces of Comedy for Just For Laughs Montreal

Here they are, they’ve auditioned multiple times, many of them for multiple years, to get here. A coveted spot in Montreal’s “New Faces” at Just For Laughs.

What used to just showcase stand-up comedians aiming for the big time from comedy club bookers, casting agents and development deals from the broadcast networks, has now expanded to include “Characters” who often show up on the short-lists for Saturday Night Live and other series, “Unrepped” to counter the trend in many New Faces already getting representation before Montreal, and new for 2017, “Creators” to recognize the funny people making videos, webseries and other projects online.

“For more than 20 years, the New Faces showcase at Just For Laughs has served as the launch pad for many of the biggest and most recognizable names in comedy,” says Bruce Hills, COO of the Just For Laughs Group. “We couldn’t be more proud to offer comedians this phenomenal showcase opportunity in front of some of the most important and influential people in the comedy business.”

NEW FACES OF COMEDY: (L to R): Blair SocciCalvin EvansCharles GouldChristi ChielloDanny JollesDave ThomasonJake NordwindJames Austin JohnsonJared FreidJonathan MorvayJR De GuzmanMartin UrbanoMichael LenociNorm Nixon Jr.Preacher LawsonRae SanniRamy YoussefSam JaySolomon GeorgioTaylor Tomlinson and Yedoye Travis.

These New Faces will be divided into two groups, performing back-to-back on July 26 at Monument National, and also July 28 at Katacombes.

NEW FACES: CHARACTERS (L to R): Ana FabregaAvery MonsenBill PosleyGeoff DowHeidi GardnerJohn TrowbridgeKat PalardyMatt GehringMatt Rogers and Yoni Lotan.

The Characters showcase takes place July 27 at Monument National, with a second performance July 28 at the Mainline Theatre.

NEW FACES: CREATORS (L to R): Brandon RogersGlenn BoozanGood Cop Great Cop (Matt Porter & Charlie Hankin), Handsome Dancer (Matt Pavich and James Manzello), Juhahn JonesQuinta Brunson and The Cooties (Ethan Edenburg, Jacob Jeffries, Eric Jackowitz and Raul Fernandez).

The Creators showcase happens July 27 inside the Hyatt at the Grand Salon Opera.

NEW FACES: UNREPPED (L to R): Andrew DismukesGeorge CiverisJackson McQueenJeremy McLellanJiayong LiJordan DollMarie FaustinMia JacksonSteven CastilloTurner Barrowman and Vanessa Gonzalez.

The Unrepped New Faces will showcase July 27 at Monument National, with a second performance July 28 at the Mainline Theatre.

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T.J. Miller tells Jimmy Kimmel why he left “Silicon Valley”

07/21/2017 10:34:00 AM

T.J. Miller visited Jimmy Kimmel Live last night, and the comedian opened up on his recent exit from HBO comedy Silicon Valley

Miller, a series regular from the show’s first episode (alongside Zach Woods, Kumail Nanjiani, Martin Starr, and Thomas Middleditch), was written out during last month’s season finale, a fairly surprising move that left many fans confused. 

But Miller seems more than okay with his decision to leave Silicon Valley, explaining to Kimmel: “An organic out arose. They had a cliffhanger and I thought it would be funny just to exit… It’s hard. You do a television show, it’s very lucky, it’s such a great show … it’s only gonna become better with me not on it because it has to change, it has to grow, there’s something dynamic that has to happen.”

Beyond all that, Miller admits, he was just tired of the cable show’s rigorous shooting schedule. He recently relocated from Los Angeles to New York, which makes filming on the West Coast more difficult — and he’d rather be spending time with his family than waiting around on set, anyways. 

Plus, Miller says, between the movie and his recently freed up schedule, he’s able to dive back into stand-up. “There’s a lot more stage time when I’m in New York. When I’m in Los Angeles, I do 2-4 sets, possibly. In New York, I do 6-10 sets in one night.”

Miller also told Kimmel all about why he chose to do The Emoji Movie (which hits theaters July 28th), and also, how he ended up wearing such a sassy outfit on the show.

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Late start hasn’t slowed comedian Sid Davis

07/05/2017 09:46:32 AM

Late start hasn’t slowed comedian Sid Davis

Bill Lynch , Staff Writer

A lot of comics start early in their lives. Most of them begin in their 20s. A few do their first shows when they’re in their teens.

 

Sid Davis did not.

Before he tried stand-up, Davis was an aviation technician. Before that, he worked as an airline baggage handler. He also sold insurance, wrote and worked in sales at small radio station.

He got married, had kids and lived half his life. But at the age of 48, after being forced to retire because of the airline industry downswing, he finally got around to doing stand-up comedy.

“I was almost 50,” Davis said.

So he took a class, tried his luck at the comedy clubs in Charlotte and quickly turned an old dream into a brand new career.

“I was retired from the airline. So I had some kind of cushion,” he said. “I never had to be the young guy living out of his car. I had a foundation, so I could venture out.”

Davis worked his way up through the comedy ranks, although it wasn’t easy in the beginning. Having some financial resources gave him some flexibility, but being in the vicinity of middle age worked against him.

“When you’re young and do this, you’re viewed as an up-and-comer,” he said.

A young person starting out doesn’t even have to be incredibly funny. They can just be a little funny, Davis said. It’s assumed they will get better after they spend a couple of years working the clubs and maybe going on the road.

Club managers looked at him and assumed he had been doing comedy for longer than he had. Davis said they watched his act in the beginning and thought, “This is as good as he’s going to get.”

“I was never looked at as someone who would go far,” Davis said.

After he spent some time working the comedy circuit, he got better and people began to ask how long he had been a comedian.

Things have gotten better since then.

These days, Davis said he is out working between 15 and 20 days a month. He plays clubs and comedy festivals, works cruise ships and even opens for the occasional big-name comedian.

“I don’t do political stuff,” he said. “I keep it fun. If anything, it’s a break from the political stuff.”

Davis described what he did as situational comedy. Life happens. He pays attention, particularly when things get weird or go wrong.

For example, Davis recently had a job on a cruise ship. During the trip, one of the passengers became ill. A helicopter was flown out to take the passenger to a hospital.

“The helicopter was hovering perfectly above the ship, like 80 feet, because it couldn’t land on the deck,” he said. “It was amazing, but the wind was wicked. It was whipping everything around. Hats were flying.”

To get the sick passenger, the helicopter had to lower a stretcher on a rope, which Davis said jerked and swung in every direction.

“We were all on the deck watching this,” he said. “And I started thinking, if that was me, I’d say I was feeling much better. You know, I think those chest pains were just gas.”

His humor is regular life, though he has a few general rules — no politics, and he steers away from making fun of women.

“If you’re going to make fun of somebody and you have a choice between a man and woman, you make fun of the man,” he said.

Poking fun at men being dumb is the cornerstone of the American television sit-com, he said.

“It’s on ‘The Honeymooners,’ ‘The Flintstones,’ and ‘Everybody Loves Raymond,’” he said.

He warned, “If you make fun of women, you do so at your own peril.”

So Davis doesn’t, usually.

Instead, he often just focuses his attention on himself. That’s always plenty of material.

“Things backfire for me,” he said. “They just go wrong.”

Reach Bill Lynch at lynch@wvgazettemail.com, 304-348-5195 or follow @LostHwys on Twitter. Follow Bill’s One Month At A Time progress on his blog at blogs.wvgazettemail.com/onemonth/. He’s also on Instagram at instagram.com/billiscap.

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Craig Shoemaker, Jason Allen King to Perform at Susan G. Komen Charlotte “Laugh for the Cure” Comedy Event

01/26/2017 09:51:19 AM

Craig Shoemaker, Jason Allen King to Perform at Susan G. Komen Charlotte “Laugh for the Cure” Comedy Event

Charlotte, NC – Wells Fargo will present the 16th annual Susan G. Komen Laugh for the Cure comedy event at McGlohon Theater on Thursday, March 9th, 2017. Nationally known comedian Craig Shoemaker will headline the event and regional performer Jason Allen King will open.

The annual Laugh for the Cure event celebrates breast cancer survivors and raises money for community health programs and breast cancer research. The evening includes a survivor reception, VIP cocktail reception, complimentary heavy hors d’oeuvres buffet, silent and live auctions, entertainment, and a hilarious full-length PG-13 comedy show.

Headliner Craig Shoemaker’s extensive accomplishments include major television and cable network appearances, hosting syndicated radio and podcast shows, on-stage stand up, performing on Broadway, has written two children’s books, and hosted motivational presentations and speeches. Accolades include Comedian of the Year by American Comedy Awards; Number One comedy routine of all time by XM Radio, iTunes #1 comedy album; two Emmy awards, and the honor of performing for four United States Presidents.

 

Doors to the event open at 5:30 p.m. in Spirit Square; comedy event begins at 7:15.

Tickets can be purchased at www.carolinatix.org/laugh. Options include VIP ticket for $80, which includes an exclusive VIP reception, free drink, heavy hors d’ourves, access to live and silent auctions and lower level seating in the theater. General Admission tickets are $65 and include heavy hors d’ourves, cash bar, access to live and silent auction and general seating in the theater.

ABOUT LAUGH FOR THE CURE

“Laugh for the Cure” has grown from a modest grass-roots effort started in 2002 by a group of friends in Charlotte whose lives had each been touched by breast cancer, to a national Susan G. Komen program. Laugh for the Cure was founded and led by Tammy Greyshock in celebration of her mother (now a 27-year survivor), to remember loved ones she and her friends had lost, celebrate survivors and help people in the community impacted by the breast cancer. Since its inception, Laugh for the Cure has grown to be the second largest fundraising event for Komen Charlotte and has raised more than $900,000 to help fund education programs, mammograms, diagnostic services and treatment support for local women and men in the Charlotte region. Last year, Laugh for the Cure raised over $100,000.

 

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Cheech & Chong rock The Comedy Zone/Hard Rock Rocksino

11/14/2016 14:43:34 PM

The Comedy Zone / Comedy Zone Worldwide

www.comedyzoneworldwide.com

On November 11, 2016 - One of the greatest comedy duos "smoked" the stage at the Hard Rock Rocksino!  Comedy Zone Worldwide provided these comedy legends for an unbelievable night of laughs!  Playing to a packed out showroom,  Cheech & Chong took the stage and wowed the audience with their talent.  What an honor to have these guys (with Chong's wife Shelby) to work with us.

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Harry Caray drops in on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” to talk about The World Series

10/25/2016 14:01:05 PM

One of our favorite characters Will Ferrell portrayed during his time on Saturday Night Live was when he portrayed legendary Cubs announcer Harry Caray. It’s been many years since Ferrell has done the character, but now seems like as good a time as any. Last night on Jimmy Kimmel Live Caray showed up to give the audience some Wetzels Pretzels and see what he’s been up to these last few years.

 

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Inaugural Laugh for the Cure-Charleston, WV

10/12/2016 10:15:29 AM

Inaugural Laugh for the Cure - Charleston, WV

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The Comedy Zone / Comedy Zone World Wide:

Join Komen West Virginia on Friday, October 14, 2016 for the Inaugural Laugh for the Cure at The Comedy Zone at the fabulous Holiday Inn & Suites in South Charleston, WV. Doors open at 6:00pm.

Breast cancer is no laughing matter, but for one night, it will be! So bring your co-workers, your friends and families and all of our Komen family and supporters and help us to Laugh and Celebrate!

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A new event is coming to Charleston to give hope to end breast cancer forever.

Susan G. Komen West Virginia will be hosting the Inaugural "Laugh for the Cure" at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 14.

This special event will be hosted in partnership with The Comedy Zone Charleston and Holiday Inn and Suites Charleston West.

The night will be emceed by WSAZ's Amanda Barren and will include a cash bar, a silent auction, and a PG-13 comedy show featuring Jamie Utley and Shaun Jones.

Executive Director Donna Dehart says, "When Shaun takes the stage, he mixes his talents before the audience, bakes his show just right and serves up a unique dish to satisfy everyone's laughter appetite."

"Laugh for the Cure" has grown from a modest grass roots effort started in 2002 by a group of friends in Charlotte, North Carolina.

For more information, including about tickets, check out the related link with this story.

Buy Tickets: http://komenwv.org/laugh-for-the-cure/

 

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How Amy Schumer Became The First Woman To Ever Make The Highest-Paid Comedian List

09/28/2016 10:49:02 AM

By: Madeline Berg, Forbes Staff Writer:

Amy Schumer has broken ground for female comics as the first woman to ever make the list of top-paid comedians. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

In Inside Amy Schumer’s only episode-long sketch 12 Angry Men—a parody of the play and film of the same name—12 middle-aged, white men deliberate whether Schumer is attractive enough to be on television.

Jeff Goldblum, Paul Giamatti and other famous actors pose questions and make ruthless comments as they puff on cigars: “She’s built like a lineman, has cabbage patch-like features, and her ass makes me furious,” one quips.

Turns out Schumer is not only attractive enough for television, she thrives on screen. Her success earned her $17  million last year, making her the fourth highest-paid comedian and also the only woman to ever make the list of the world’s top-paid comics.

 Her earnings come from a variety of sources, including her aforementioned Emmy and Peabody Award-winning Comedy Central show and a tour with Aziz Ansari, who did not make the list. She also received a piece of her $8 million book advance for The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo in the time period, became a film star with her role in Trainwreck (though she reportedly only earned $300,000 for her star turnand likely earned in the seven figures for a Bud Light Super Bowl commercial.

This packed schedule is par for the course for women in entertainment, who often have to work more—readily combining film and TV roles with endorsement deals and commercial workto earn the same amount as their male counterparts. Schumer often plays off the sexism faced by women in theindustry in her work.

In another notable skit from her show, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Patricia Arquette and Tina Fey gather to celebrate Louis-Dreyfus’ “last f**kable day,” or the last day the actress is young enough to be cast as an attractive love interest. The bit pokes at the ageism women experience in Hollywood, where their male love interests can be yearsor decadesolder.

Her show challenges gender disparity behind the camera, as well. Five out of eight writers of the most recent season were women, far more than many other shows on TV, particularly comedies. Women accounted for just 28.9% of writers across broadcast, cable, streaming and film in 2015, with the number even lower, at 28,5% when looking at cable, alone.

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Unlike other female comics, however, Schumer has been able to cash inmillions from stand up on the roadhistoric moneymaker for the majority of male comedians on the ranking. Even the women that many consider the pioneers of 21st century female humor—Amy Poehler, Fey, Louis-Dreyfus—have achieved most of their success on television or in films.

Onstage, many women still face the gendered stereotype that women just aren’t funny, or double standards with subject matter, When female comedians use the raunchy material that stand ups often turn to, it is oftentimes still considered taboo.

“I’m labeled a sex comic. I think it’s just because I’m a girl,” Schumer said at a gig at the Apollo Theater, which was later air on HBO. “A guy could get up here and literally pull his [penis] out, and people would be like, ‘he’s a thinker!’”

Schumer often addresses the sexism of the entertainment industry in her work and in interviews, but it is likely worse in comedy, as the genre has traditionally been a boy’s club.  (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File)

It also has to do with attractiveness: According to studies, while women find funny men attractive, a sense of humor does not seem to affect how men view women. This means that there is more pressure on men to be funny, and culturally, we have evolved to encourage men to tell jokes or make us laugh.

In one 2006 study, both men and women were shown images of equally attractive members of the opposite sex, but some were attached to funny statements and others attached to not funny statements. While female participants often selected the funny male, males tended not to factor humor into their choice.

In another study, men and women participants could spend money on traits they wanted in their partners, either choosing between being funny or bring appreciative. The results of the study found similar results, with women caring about men who produce humor, and men caring about women who are receptive to their own humor.

Perhaps as a result, there have historically been fewer female comedians. Only a handful, including Joan Rivers, Lucille Ball and Phyllis Dillerachieved successful, sustained careers. Without possibility models and precedents, it has made it even harder for contemporary and up-and-coming ones to succeed on the level of their male counterparts—or join the highest-paid comedians ranking.

While Sarah Silverman and Chelsea Handler have been extremely successful, neither of them played Madison Square Garden (Schumer became the first woman to do so in June). And in smaller stand up shows, organizers and audience members are so used to having no women on the bill, it is almost as if they have forgotten to include them entirely.

It seems that, until recently, this was so often the case that no one bothered to say anything. Luckily, this is changing. Last year, only three out of 40 comics on the line up of the Houston Whatever Fest were women, which caused pushback, though no changes or additions. A festival featuring only women–the All Jane No Dick Comedy Festival–was founded in 2011 to help foster female comedians.

But even when they do get booked (and make money), there is still work to be done to make comedy a gender-neutral industry. Just last year, Schumer told GQ that “All I’ve ever wanted is to be treated like a comedian who’s performing at your venue, who sold it out. Just talk to me how you would talk to Bill Burr, who was here the week before me. Like Patton Oswalt, who’ll be here next week.”

The industry, unfortunately, may not be there just yet. But thanks to Schumer, it is getting closer.

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The Comedy Zone / Duck's Jacksonville, NC

09/15/2016 12:39:45 PM

The Comedy Zone / Comedy Zone Worldwide

The Comedy Zone at Duck’s Grille and Bar

Philly Plowden and Eric Grady performed Friday night at Duck’s Grille and Bar, and they had the audience on fire. Crackin’ jokes about life’s little shenanigans and other mishaps, they created a booming atmosphere jubilant with laughs, hollers and hilarious cries.

The preliminaries began with dinner served. An hour after, entertainers Plowden and Grady freshened the air with some witty jokes. Topics included women’s hair, traffic violations, dipped Oreo-cookies and Irish leprechauns. Grady mesmerized the crowd with skilled dance moves and his impressive impersonations as the inflatable arm man (as seen at car dealerships). He mocked the "twerking" dance, and as "the world’s tallest comedian" standing at 6’9", it was definitely a hysterical sight to see.

After Grady’s performance, Plowden dazzled the crowd with puns and smooth vocals. He even sang Whitney Houston’s classic, "I Will Always Love You," and switched-up from soul to country music genres.

After the show, participants met the performers and snapped pictures with the two comedians.

Although they performed on the same stage, each comedian has their own unique story.

For Philly Plowden, the "pursuit for comedy" began during childhood.

Plowden was raised in Orlando, Florida.

"I grew up with a comical family. There were plenty of funny moments, it was part of my lifestyle," said Plowden. His mother was his main encouragement. He did not win class-clown, however, during school he was occasionally chastised for his outlandish behavior. Plowden also agrees that, "it is important for comedy to be a part of our lives, especially with all the craziness happening in life right now."

The "pursuit for comedy" began for Eric Grady differently. Eric was introverted growing up and during school, he tended to keep to himself.

Eric said, "I watched a show performed by Andy Kaufman. The audience loved him, but I thought to myself the whole time, ‘I’d never want that!’ Being on stage infront of an entire crowd laughing and pointing at you."

When a former girlfriend actually sparked the idea to Eric, encouraging his comical character, he was ready to give it a try.

Eric experienced his first open mic night in Charlotte, with success. In turn, the debut led to more performances, about 10 per year in Charlotte. He has performed in other states including South Carolina and Florida. Eric’s inspirations stem from comedians like George Carlin, Eddie Murphy, as well as his art, with nearly 30 years’ experience as a caricature artist.

In conclusion, "don’t sweat the petty things and don’t pet the sweaty things" as stated by late comedian George Carlin.

Simply, don’t be afraid to live free, challenge your comfort zone and laugh (sometimes) at what life has to offer.

For more information and schedule of events, please visit http://ducksgrilleandbar.com/.

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Comedy night to debut at Duck's Grille and Bar

08/19/2016 10:35:37 AM

Comedy Zone Worldwide Presents:

Duck’s Grill and Bar will now host the weekly Comedy Night starting this week. The restaurant recently bought the Comedy Zone franchise that includes Onslow County and will be offering a 7 p.m. dinner show and a 10:30 p.m. late night show on Fridays.

By Naomi Whidden

A local restaurant is branching out with belly laughs.

Duck’s Grill and Bar will now host the weekly Comedy Night starting this week. The restaurant recently bought the Comedy Zone franchise that includes Onslow County and will be offering a 7 p.m. dinner show and a 10:30 p.m. late night show on Fridays.

“Nobody has ever had (Comedy Zone) here. It’s a national franchise that promotes comedy both in big and small clubs. The thing about it is you have to be prepared to do it consistently — two shows every Friday with professional standup comedians,” explained Terry Leifheit, owner of Duck’s Grille and Bar.

Leifheit said that this week’s dinner show is sold out; however, a late show is still available.

The late show offers the same two comedians plus appetizers and cocktails. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $25 for VIP seating, which requires a minimum of six people per table.

“Bringing comedy to Jacksonville will be great. There’s really not a lot to do on a Friday night. You can maybe go dancing at some places, or grab some cocktails and a bite to eat; but the entertainment is missing,” Leifheit said on Wednesday afternoon. “I believe you have to give people a reason to bring themselves out to the restaurant, and I feel like this is it. We’re excited and committed to doing this long term.”

According to the event information, the headliner this week is Jeremy “BURPIE” Alsop, a high energy comedian who was a finalist in Kevin Hart’s 2012 Miller Lite Comedy Search and appeared on NBC’s Last Comic Standing and Shaquille O’NEal’s Allstar Comedy Jam. The second comedian is Ryan Van Genderen, a resident of Charlotte for most of his life, he examines the human condition and societal norms in a playfully dark comedic style.

For the Aug. 26 and future shows, dinner tickets are $40 for general admission and $55 for VIP seating and include a three-course meal that consists of a salad, entree and dessert.

The restaurant also offers a free shuttle service within a 3 to 5 mile range.

“People can call in advance, have the shuttle pick them up and bring them to the show. Or you have a few drinks, we’ll drive you home and everyone will have had a good time,” Leifheit explained.

Starting next week, Duck’s will also be offering free valet parking.

To stay updated on food or drink specials, visit the Facebook page: Duck’s Grille and Bar.

For more information about the comedy show or Duck’s in general, call 910-455-9128 or visit ducksgrilleandbar.com

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