Saturday, November 24, 2012

Ultimate Comic Challenge (post 2 of 2)

Not only did I create a series of mediocre posters for the UCC, each challenger had a flyer personally made for them.
This was, of course, completely unsolicited on the part of my fellow comedians.
I don’t know why, though. These flyers are completely AWESOME.
Comedians tend to be critical of themselves (or simply consumed with self-loathing). There aren’t many opportunities to revel in being super awesome. Anyone who gets a big head is quickly put in their place by fellow comedians. Hence- the flyers.
Despite being super ridiculous (especially Troy and Leo. I am so sorry!), it was my tiny tribute to the comics.
I’ve become friends with most of the comics that were in the semi-finals. They are a bunch of really great and really talented guys.
They have made my time in comedy a lot of fun.
So, here are some of my favorites.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Ultimate Comic Challenge (post 1 of 2)

Idiot Box is my favorite comedy venue in Greensboro. It's downtown and nestled comfortably between five bars. Plus it is one of the few places where you can get paid to do shows.

FUN FACT: Comedians love alcohol and money!

Every year, Idiot Box hosts the Ultimate Comic Challenge. Comics compete in a tournament to be the Ultimate Comic. The final round takes place in the Carolina Theater (which is pretty dope) and the winner gets $1000 dollars.

That is so many dollars!

In the rounds leading up to the final round, the comic who gets the most votes not only goes on to the next round- they get $50.

"12 comics compete to make you laugh... and
then you decide their fate like some sort
of depraved emperor!"
FUN FACT: $50 dollars in Comedian World is, like, $200 dollars! (We are notoriously bad with money, you guys!).

Last year, I only made it past the first round. I had only been doing comedy for six months so I counted it as a victory.

This year, I made it to the semi-finals which was a great experience... and an even greater victory.

The comics in this year's competition were much better than last year. All of the shows were great because all of the comics were great.

If I had been competing against this year's line-up last year- I wouldn't have even made it past the first round.

My set was notably better than last year as well.

It's nice to have moments where you see that you are moving forward. There are more fails than successes on stage. Progress is hard to measure and aggravatingly slow. So it is incredibly refreshing have tangible evidence that you are getting better (and that all the horrible/awkward moments on stage are worth it).

Unfortunately for everyone, the day before the UCC Semi-finals, I had way too much time on my hands and flooded Facebook with UCC posters I made on Paint.

(Paint. Not MS Paint or even a cheap knock-off of Photoshop- Paint. It is free to download and it crashes if you try anything fancy- hence the incredibly pedestrian look of all the posters are sporting.)

Alas, I did not make it past the semi-finals but I ain't fussed! The audience was packed and the show was awesome from start to finish.

(And if I continue on my current trajectory, I'm going to smoke the competition next year.)

The finals will be at the Carolina Theater on January 25th.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Unsolicited Advice: Campaign Slogans

Romney had to do damage control on his "Keep America American" slip-up.

Everyone is upset that Obama hasn't fulfilled any of his campaign promises.

What a mess.

So, this go around, Obama (and everyone in the future) should just set the bar low so that progress of any kind seems like a dazzling achievement.

"He Does Things"

Election won.

source: Buzzfeed

Friday, August 31, 2012

RNC went out with a bang (from a .44 revolver)

NOTE: NSFW (for language)
*mentions politics but post is fairly non-political 

click here to see video on YouTube

The Republican National Convention happened. During the three days, a lot of people were guessing who the mystery guest would be. Guesses included Ron Paul, Tim Tebow, Donald Trump, a hologram of Reagan, Jon Voight, Mengele, George W. Bush, Laura Bush, and Voldemort.

I don't think anyone expected it to be Clint Eastwood.

And I don't think anyone expected him to talk to a chair...

Reactions to the speech ranged everywhere from joy (everyone at the convention) to confusion (everyone not at the convention).

Poor Rachel Maddow, who deals with politics everyday (how do you do it, girl?) was simply bewildered. She could not wrap her mind around it.

It was kind of crazy and probably garnered the biggest reaction from people/general media...

Oh, Marvin. I can always count on you.

Most of the people I follow on Twitter are comedians and were just thrilled and amused that the convention decided to take such a strange turn...

I like how old people have become the new wild-card at televised events. 

Forget Kanye West-- old people are the people to watch. 

They have stuff to say and they just don't care about your bullshit.


Clint Eastwood likes to pop at random times to spend a moment or two growling at us for being lazy jerks (remember the random commercials he did at the super bowl?) and I kind of love it. He has such a great stage presence.

They don't just play the theme from "The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly" for just anybody (and it wasn't just because he happened to be in the movie. 

The man the last of the old-school badasses.

I personally believe that Clint Eastwood could get more done in this country than any politician in existence. NOT by becoming involved in politics- just by going door to door and growling at people to, "get their f&%ing act together."

The media kind of seized on the "chair thing" but the speech wasn't awful. It was actually pretty good. Eastwood had some great one-liners and he had some good slams on lawyers and Biden.

(I personally love Biden but credit where credit is due.)

The speech was funny.

He had a legitimately good quip about war in Afghanistan: "We didn't check with the Russians to see how they did there for the ten years..." Hahaha. It's funny because no one wins in Afghanistan.

Good one, Mr. Eastwood.

One woman at the convention shouted,"Make my day," to which Eastwood responded, "I don't say that anymore." But then after a beat of silence, he added with a coy smile, "but maybe one more time..."

Clint Eastwood, you tease!

The man knows how to play to the crowd.

Personally, though, I would have rather heard him shout, "GET OFF MY LAWN!" into the crowd.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Photo of the Day II

"Reality" by Jay Cougar
purchase print here

Photo of the Day

"Into the Fire"// Georgian Bay
originally posted here

Claudia O'Doherty: Laugh Ninja

My mission for Fringe was to see as many stand-up shows as possible and basically glut myself on comedy. 

Most shows I saw were based off recommendations from comedians I liked and 
Claudia O'Doherty was a performer that was recommended by both Josie Long and David O'Doherty (which is the sort of endorsement that pretty much guaranteed that I would be seeing that show).

Not knowing anything about O'Doherty, I did a cursory search on the internet. While there weren't many clips- there were a lot of pictures of her wearing a shark mask (which was obviously a point in her corner). 

I eventually found an interview she did for her last Fringe show in 2011 (What Is Soil Erosion?) Here is a snippit:

2. Describe (the show) in three words. Magic magic magic.
3. What is your favorite thing about the show? It involves pudding.
4. Complete this sentence: if you like partying with sex wizards then, hell, you might just like my show.
Sold! I bought tickets to the show 15 minutes later.

Walking into the venue, I didn't quite know what to expect. I knew that the show was called The Telescope and that it wasn't a stand-up actThe blurb in the Festival Program simply read: "No more jokes. No more laughter... Please join Claudia for her first foray into confronting upsetting theater." The only other clue I had to go on was a short one minute trailer and while mildly amusing, it still didn't reveal much.

And then "Get Ready For This" started playing on the overhead speaker. When O'Doherty skipped gleefully onto the stage- any hesitance or skepticism I had had evaporated. I knew only merriment and joy.

The show was mental and can best be described as an hour of undiluted awesomeness.

Afterwards, I went on a campaign to get everyone I knew to see it. When asked the logical follow-up question: "what is the show about?" I would answer with unrestrained zeal, "A monk gets murdered and a victorian washer-woman falls in love with an cop because of a cursed telescope and she plays all the parts and does the entire show in a blood-stained t-shirt. It's hilarious!"

("No, seriously. Wait- come back!")

Admittedly, my pitch needed some work.

The premise of The Telescope is this: O'Doherty is sick of stand-up and wants to do serious acting. She dubs her style of theater "difficult theater." This genre is employed to tell the story of a monk, a victorian washer woman, a supernatural telescope, and a modern day New York cop.

Despite claims that there would be "no laughter" and threats of "serious theater", the audience was in hysterics from the beginning : "it's no secret that The Telescope is not a sincere venture into dramatic territory, but O'Doherty's latest attempt yet at what she calls "high-concept stupidity.


The show has also received some amazing reviews. 

When I say "amazing reviews", I don't just mean that they were positive (which they have been) -- I mean the reviews themselves are a fantastic read. Some are great just because any article that uses the phrase "delightfully unhinged" or "panda expert" will always naturally pique my interest. Others are great because the reviewers tried so hard to write seriously about a show that is bananas

So, here are some of my favorite reviews of The Telescope presented with little to no context:

the winsome Aussie now wants to regale us with a lamentable time-travel-meets-satanism melodrama called The Telescope. (Mark Monahan // The Telegraph)

Claudia is a fucking nutbag. She is delightfully unhinged and frantically creative.  (Andy Lane // Rabbit Hole Urban Music

...cod melodrama in which the doe-eyed O’Doherty dons a series of daft wigs to play a suicidal 15th Century monk, a convict washerwoman and a tough, modern-day New York cop, all drawn together by a cursed telescope that can see through time. (Steve Bennett // Chortle)

Part panda expert, part surrealist performer, Claudia O'Doherty talks suicidal monks and 'difficult theatre' (Collette Cullen // The Skinny)

Just how did an entertainer come up with such a grand, nightmarish vision? ... "I was like: 'Well, I know there's going to be a telescope in it. And I think I'd like to be a New York City cop for a bit and I'd like to do karate kicks. But I'd also like to be a convict washerwoman, so how can I do that?' Well, if this telescope can communicate through time, all that stuff is achievable!" (Lyle Brennan // Fest Magazine)

"If it's whimsy, it's whimsy of the most kick-ass kind." (Alice Jones // The Independent)

Picture for The Telescope
May I just say that "whimsy of the most kick-ass kind" is one of the best reviews I have ever read. I now aspire to live a life where people are forced to use that phrase in order to describe me.

In short, it was one of the greatest shows I saw at the Fringe. I was incredibly glad I got to see the show and can't wait to see Claudia in future performances. 

One interviewer articulated my thoughts perfectly writing, "My biggest regret is that (I) didn't see her shows from previous years as I feel like I have missed some remarkable creations.

Claudia O'Doherty is hilarious.

(**If you are unable or unwilling to take the word of a blogger (a sensible move on your part), the show recently got nominated for Best ShowThe nomination alone is impressive when you stop to consider the sheer number of shows she was competing against. She is on a shortlist of six other performers and the winner will be announced Saturday.)


More Claudia O'Doherty...
Twitter: @ClaudiaODoherty
Facebook: Claudia O'Doherty


Interview on Australian radio show, Triple J (interview and O'Doherty plays five songs. Respect for playing R-Kelly and gratitude for making me aware of Emmylou and First Aid Kit.)

Hatty Ashdown's Silly Radio Show (link goes to iTunes podcast page) [Hattie at the Edinburgh Fringe 2011: JOSIE LONG & CLAUDIA O'DOHERTY] Delightful.

Absolutely True* Facts About Sharks (*Not True) Article on "100 Facts About Sharks" which she co-wrote with David O'Doherty (no relation) and Mike Ahern.