Thursday, March 10, 2005

Make with the funny

Here is the article I wrote about the Comedians of Comedy tour and documentary coming to Austin next week featuring Maria Bamford (superduper), Zach Galifianakis, Patton Oswalt, and Brian Posehn. These are some of my favorite comics and I'm trying to be cool and not spazz out over this bounty. I'll post the full transcript of my interviews with Maria, Zach, and Patton as time permits.

I first saw Maria Bamford on the Tonight Show something like 5 years ago and was blown away. I'd never laughed so hard at a from-out-of-nowhere comic. Soon after, her Comedy Central special aired and I fell in comedic love. That is, love of a comic, not funny love. On her next trip to Austin, I went to see her live with a couple friends and we suffered extreme stomach and facial muscle ache. That's a good thing. We make it a point to see her every time she performs in town and my Tivo is set to automatically record all her appearances. I actually sat through more of Charlotte's Web 2 (a sacrilege) that I ever care to again because Maria was the voice of Charlotte's daughter Joy. Ah Tivo, you show me more minor guest appearances than I ever thought possible.

I first saw Zach Galifianakis on Conan one night and the sheer oddity was enough to interest me. He was also hilarious, so that helped. Later, I fortuitously saw him at Bumbershoot in Seattle and his set was so frickin' amazing that I went back again for his next one. I must admit that because of this I was prepared for the audience participation bit and in a rather Martin Prince-ish fashion willed him to call on me. So I sat in a chair on stage (because Zach gets lonely) and laughed. Zach called up a young girl as well who, by all appearances, not only got his jokes, but loved them; just howled. On stage though, she sat totally silent and looked bored. Zach would do a joke, then turn around and look at her, nothing. It was priceless, couldn't have been planned better. Afterwards, Zach took the time to chat with me and we marvelled at the difference between her off-stage and on. His Comedy Central special is also great and I dearly wish I had tapes of his short-lived VH1 talk show Late World with Zach. I watched Bubble Boy and can confirm that Zach's two minutes of screentime are the best two minutes of the entire movie.

I've never seen Brian Posehn do a long set, just clips and then his work on Mr. Show. So I'm looking forward to seeing more of him.

I think the first time I heard of Patton Oswalt was because he was doing staged readings of the script for The Day the Clown Cried, the infamous film where Jerry Lewis plays a clown in a Nazi concentration camp (read the Spy magazine story about this incredible, uh, thing). What a great idea (the readings, not so much the movie). Anyway, I saw Patton at Bumbershoot as well (different year from Zach) and laughed my ass off. Patton Oswalt is an incredibly gracious person. After the show, I stopped to express my appreciation and he actually listened and genuinely thanked me. He's definitely acerbic and puts on a grumpy attitude on stage, but off stage? Adorable and sweet, like a puppy. His Comedy Central special last year killed me. Tibecian scream singers? Yes please.

Dear lord I'm being gushy. Well, I can't help it. If someone consistently makes me laugh, the love must be shown.

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