High School Short Film: Dumpy

My friend monitron has been busy digitizing and Youtubing various videos that were produced by my “TV Production” class in high school.  The first one was the first “digital” video that was edited on the computer, called Dumpy.  This video would have been made around 1996 or ’97, when I was a sophomore in high school at the Barrie School.

The computer we had at the time was not powerful enough to do both audio and video, so it was made in the mode of a silent film, though music and narration were added later using a normal Betacam tape editor.  The music came from an old Buster Keaton film, and matches up brilliantly with the story: there are “home sweet home” and “horror” themes that show up at exactly the right times.  We used Buster Keaton to go with the silent film theme and also because even back then we were concerned with licensing issues! (the film we borrowed from was in the public domain.)

The film stars Sebastian, and if, against my better judgment, I post more videos from these good ol’ days, you will see him grow as an actor, indeed.  Monitron directed, and I was cinematographer and narrator.  The film’s themes are really rather grim, though it is meant to be comic.

Enough talk; with special consideration to John Fuller, our teacher, I give you Dumpy:

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Last Comic Standing: Season 6, Episode 10. Surprise Democracy!

Midgets? They stooped this low?

Marcus finally got to do some impressions in the Hibachi section of the show, and Jeff Dye just ruined it. It made me laugh, actually, but the little people didn’t seem to care too much for his irreverence.

Actually, everyone seemed to do alright in the Japanese restaurant warm-up challenge thing, and since it didn’t seem to really matter to the outcome of the show, it was nice of the producers to skip over most of it and just show the funniest clips.

Then we arrive at the challenge that does matter: telling bedtime stories. I don’t know whether to be happy or unhappy that every season they seem to end up doing less and less in the house and more and more at auditions and in the finals. They could have stretched this season out 3 more episodes by only eliminating one comic at a time. That being said, they seem to have eliminated the right people and those who remain I want to see perform on stage. It ends up okay.

Marcus did a great job, more impressions this episode; he was wrong about being the only one to do voices, though, Iliza also did some. He was one of the few who didn’t seem to get nervous being around the girls next door. I also liked what I saw of Iliza and Jeff’s stories. Marcus definitely deserved the immunity he got.

They really put the pressure on the comedians with this rule change. But it also means the comedians will be judged not only on their comedy, but on their personalities and their daring and their perserverance.

I guess I’m obligated to vote, since I’m so invested in the show as a self-styled LCS-blogger. I’ll cast ten votes using nbc.com, and I’ll tell you how I voted right now. My thinking on the various sets tonight, in order from worst to best in my humble opinion:

Adam Hunter1.877.386.6901 He started out very strong. The first two jokes, I laughed. The last joke was crude but it got me. In the middle there were a few smiles, but it wasn’t overall what it needed to be to earn my vote. I’m also still angry at him for the vegetarian joke in auditions!
Sean Cullen1.877.386.6903 “Thank you humans!”? Is he channeling the Interloper from the first episode? The jokes fell flat. The song was good, but it wasn’t as good as the one he did in Las Vegas, and it feels like he’s channeling Jack Black who simply can’t be beat for showmanship. I like Sean Cullen a lot, but this performance didn’t get me there.
Jeff Dye1.877.386.6905 I really like Jeff Dye, I think he’s creative and pretty cool, but essentially he didn’t tell enough jokes. He stretched out the first joke way too long and then all of them sort of ended up running together as if he ended up only telling one joke. I did like to see him get in a few Nintendo reference at the end. I’ll toss him a vote for that.
Ron G1.877.386.6906 I didn’t like Ron G in Vegas or in the auditions, but he has high energy, which I respect. His set about being single also happened to resonate with me at this point in my life. I laughed. I’m gonna toss him 2 votes.
Louis Ramey1.877.386.6907 Louis seems like one of the most experienced comics on the show. I thought his set was solid, good, I smiled, a few chuckles. I think he’ll move on and so I’m not going to cast a vote for him.
Iliza Shlesinger1.877.386.6902 **** I wonder which of these were the new jokes. The whole thing was good, but the audience didn’t seem to get into it until around the middle section. She ended very strong, which is what you need in a competition like this. She’s also going to get sympathy votes because she is having to work a lot harder than the other comics, having been up 3 times already. 2 votes for her.
Jim Tavare1.877.386.6904 Jim Tavare brings out the bass! And he does the British humour so smoothly. I was grinning the whole time and there were a few laughs. Mostly grins though, the kind you end up with when you’re watching Monty Python. I predicted he would win, and I’ll stand by that judgment based on this performance tonight alone. He gets my remaining 5 votes (plus one phone vote just to see what it’s like (Bill Bellamy yells in your ear, it’s unpleasant)).

Let me know how you voted!

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Last Comic Standing: Season 6, Episode 5

The “international” episode of Last Comic Standing this season was a little less exciting than previous seasons…

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Last Comic Standing: Season 6 Episode 3

I’m late again! I know, I know, but I do have another excuse this time. My tivo failed to tape the first half hour of the show, starting at 8:30 instead of 8. I don’t know if this was a screwup on their part or mine. Actually, I’m pretty lucky that I got anything at all because my power was out all the previous evening from a pretty bad storm and my cable went out at 11 Thursday night, so it sneaked through between those two outages.

If I wasn’t committing myself to write these reviews, I would have just blown off the missing first half hour, but I need to give you, the reader, a full and informed opinion. I got the first part of the episode through *ahem* other means, so I’ve seen the whole thing now.

Before we get into the auditions for this season, I’d like to note the “best of the worst” top 10 countdown that aired throughout the episode. Some of these auditions were pretty bad, but they included the alien warrior comedian, who I thought should have actually gotten a shot in my review of the first episode. Interestingly, all of the other comedians who got into “best of the worst” didn’t really do standup: they danced, or boxed, or fumbled about the stage, but they didn’t tell jokes with the certain rhythm and cadence that the alien warrior at least understands how to do. So, I’m ambivalent. He probably shouldn’t have been included in this set, but more screentime is probably always good when you’re a comedian, right?

Okay, on to the auditions: first we are dropped into San Francisco, where French Stewart and Josh Gomez are the judges. They started strong: Jason Downs, the first comedian, made me laugh in the first 2 minutes of the show. The second audition, however, was billed as the “most shocking audition” of the show.

I didn’t find it that shocking.

This “most shocking audition” basically consisted of a stand-up cursing and being belligerent, and the judges doing their best to respond while saving their own faces. It seems to me that their clever ripostes were the interesting part of the whole thing, but nothing about it was all that shocking.

Overall, San Francisco was a pretty strong group. You could take your pick from those who made it through to the evening show and end up pretty strong. When everyone is good like that, I mostly end up being biased towards the pretty girls and the nerdy guys. For example, last season I was rooting all season for Amy Schumer and Matt Kirshen. I think the producers generally agree with me on those criteria, too (the producers select the winners, not the judges, right?) Will Jeff Dye wear that flourescent shirt all season if he makes it through?

Since it’s my thing to choose someone who didn’t make it through who I thought should have been given a chance, I’ll choose Jesse Case. I was going to say Sky and Nancy Collins, the duo from Orange County, but they introduced themselves using the same material at both auditions, and usually that’s a bad sign. Also, they reminded me of the “two douchebags” sketches on SNL.

Moving on to Toronto, host Bill Bellamy starts us out dressed in a mountie costume. Isn’t that illegal? Impersonating an officer of the law or something seems like it would apply. The judges in Toronto are Dave Foley and Richard Kind, who seem to do a decent job.

Only two comics are selected from Toronto, just like last week in Houston. It also looked like they didn’t have too many people at the showcase, I guess how many they select must be based on how many solid comics they found. Everyone in the crowd is so upset when they announce they are only choosing two, and I think the audience at home feels the same way.

We had some more duos and even a trio today. I wonder how many multiple-comic groups they are going to let move through to the challenges. It seems like it could be hard to design challenges where a duo wouldn’t have an advantage over a single comic, so my guess is they will only let one duo move through. I think we have three going to Vegas so far, if I’m counting correctly, so we shall see if my prediction holds out.

Brian Lazanik successfully made an archeology joke. I give him mad props for that. Derek Forgie is immensely high energy and if he played that character on the show, he would get pretty annoying pretty fast. I figured the producers wouldn’t let him get chosen for that very reason, but later in the show they did an interview with him and he wasn’t in character, so my theory went out the window. But we can always blog about these things, right?

I know I talk a fair piece about the duos but I think that the Williamson Playboys should have moved forward. Some people might not care for the musical acts, but the show seems to be willing explore that space a little more this season and I would have liked to see them move through, at least to Vegas.

I’ve sort of fallen into a pattern here and I worry I won’t know what to write about when we get into the actual house and challenges part of the show, but I had strong opinions last season and hopefully I will this season as well.

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Last Comic Standing: Season 6, Episode 1

I may be a couple days late on this one, been trying to keep busy but I finally caught up with it on Tivo. I generally am a big fan of Last Comic Standing, I’ve watched 3 out of the 5 seasons already aired, and it’s one of a very very few shows on television that can make me laugh out loud. In the summer, it’s pretty much the only thing my Tivo records (so if you have recommendations for other summers shows, let me know.)

LCS is really two different shows. Like American Idol, there first is a series of auditions and celebrity judges making the cut and selecting the semi-finalists, and then there’s the competition itself which is a series of challenges followed by a head-to-head stand-up competition. I like both aspects; the auditions are generally pretty funny, but can be frustrating, and in the competition you really get to see people’s personalities and root for them.

To speak to this specific episode – it included the auditions in New York City and Tempe, Arizona. I’ll speak to the results of the competitions but I want to make clear that since the producers of the show don’t show us all the competitors (even those that make it to the evening audition in front of an audience), there might be some real gems that we didn’t even find out about.

In New York, the judges were Richard Belzer and Steve Schirripa. It was a little strange because two pairs of comedians got tickets: one was a set of (identical?) twins who have an interesting shtick that consists of both of them talking over each other and then doing jokes where one makes fun of the other. If they have a lot of material, they could go far.

The other paired-up comedians were a duo who pretend to be stereotypical happy innocent Christian evangelicals and perform songs from that viewpoint. It may just be a coincidence that two pairs were chosen, but it seems like the people who end up getting picked are the ones who are not necessarily the funniest, but have the most interesting personalities or backstories. Esther Ku reminds me a lot of Dat Phan (mostly because all her jokes seem to be about her Asian mother).

The New York comedian who I thought most deserved to move on but didn’t get to was Dan Curry (MySpace seems to be the place for comics). They only showed him telling two jokes but they were definitely good and made me laugh out loud.

The judges in Tempe were Fred Willard and Kathy Najimy. I don’t know exactly why they choose Tempe to go to, but I think a lot of the comics come from Las Vegas. They seem to have found this season’s impressionist here in “Marcus,” who was quite good, as well as the pretty boy (not to denigrate the comedy of Adam Hunter, which I haven’t seen enough of yet to judge).

They probably should have selected Rob Little, the happiest comedian, but I think having selected God’s Pottery, the Christian folk duo from New York, they were afraid of ending up with two (technically three) happy-happy people in the competition. That’s too bad because I thought Rob Little was pretty good.

The comedian they didn’t even give a chance to that they definitely should have was the Alien Warrior Comedian. He didn’t even make it to the show with an audience, but I think another set of judges may have given him a fairer shake. Kathy Najimy seemed a little more put off by him than I think was merited. I’m a Trekkie though, so his shtick appealed to me a little more than others perhaps.

I plan on keeping up with the show this summer if I can, but I’ll probably be on vacation next week so my post may be fairly late, if I end up doing it at all.

All my last comic standing posts.