John Mayer: Current Mood

Most know John Mayer for his musical abilities; however, Mayer has been self-producing Instagram Live “episodes” of a talk show he is calling Current Mood.

Using the social media platform, Mayer hosts the show and has a variety of guests join him. The show is very informal and shot using an iPhone camera in his living room. To add a little more comedic flare, the set includes a homemade backdrop of stuffed animals that Mayer has hot-glued to a poster board. Past guests include Andy Cohen, Shawn Mendes, Comedy Work alum David Spade, and Halsey. On a recent show, Mayer and Mendes played a silly game with a catchy intro called ” Camila Camendes Camendes Cabello Cabello Cabelas Mendes ” where they tried to guess random facts about celebrities that have a combination of those names listed in the song. Watch the clip within the episode HERE.

The first episode of the show surfaced back in September 2018 and is a recurring Sunday night event, barring any musical performance commitments. It showcases Mayer’s wit and dry sense of humor where he contemplates very important issues like the reboot of Sonic the Hedgehog. He creates comedic segments complete with note cards, interviews guests, and typically rounds out the show with a musical performance by a guest, tying it back to his musical roots. While it initially started out as something Mayer wanted to do in order to combat loneliness, it has turned into much more. It is streamed live and can be found on Instagram for the first 24 hours after the show on Mayer’s personal page. Afterwards, the new shows can be found most of the time on YouTube after fans have uploaded them there. Click HERE to read why fans are interested in the show.

Mayer is known as a talented musician, releasing solo hit such as No Such Thing and Heartbreak Warfare. In more recent years, he has been touring worldwide with Dead & Company.

Be sure to catch the show live or watch it on YouTube if you are looking for some laughs!

Comedian Jenny Slate Releases Book

Looking for a good, funny read as we head into the winter months? Comedy Works veteran, Jenny Slate, has just released a brand-new book, Little Weirds.

The book is a collection of essays that explore a wide variety of topics – from thoughts on a haunted house to more serious topics such as divorce. Slate weaves in self-reflection and personal insights as she goes through each subject. The essays range in length and are easy to read. Slate herself describes the work as 48 different pieces where the reader can open up to any one theme and just start reading in any order of his or her choosing, but she recommends starting from the first page and reading in consecutive order as she designed the book that way.

Reviews for the book have been very positive since the release with an average four out of five stars. Mindy Kaling calls the book “magical”, and John Mulaney described it as “funny, poignant, and beautiful.” To read other reviews, click HERE. Little Weirds is Slate’s first solo print publication, but she has previously co-authored three other works: Marcel the Shell with Shoes On: Things About Me, Marcel the Shell: The Most Surprised I’ve Ever Been, and About the House. Marcel is a popular children’s book series that has also been made into a stop-animation short film, teaching the importance of finding something good in each day.

Slate started her career as part of the comedic duo, Gabe & Jenny, and quickly rose to fame after initial recognition by Time Out New York in 2008. Television and film credits include: Saturday Night Live, Zootopia, Gifted, and Comedy Central’s Drunk History. You can also currently catch her as the voice of Missy Foreman-Greenwald on the animated Netflix series Big Mouth. In addition, Slate has a comedy special on the streaming service, Stage Fright, that has received a lot of industry buzz and hype.

To read an excerpt of the book, click HERE.

The Daily Beast’s Last Laugh

The Daily Beast’s Last Laugh is a podcast that has gotten some big names from the newer and older generation of comics. An interview podcast in which Matt Wilstein has conversations with “some of the biggest names in comedy—as well as the new voices crashing the party—about what it’s like to be a comedian in this current cultural and political moment.” The first episode was only released in late March of 2019 and they already have an impressive archive of comics. Starting with Sarah Silverman ranging to Mindy Kaling, Bill Burr, and Judd Apatow.

Podcasts can be long and sometimes hard to follow. The Last Laugh is structured into segments. It still flows well but there are scripted questions more like an actual interview, which makes it easier to keep the conversation to about an hour. Though this format is not for everyone, it does provide a change from the other comedy interview podcasts, like Joe Rogan Experience or Bertcast, which can last up to 3 hours.

Matt Wilstien dives into comedians’ works, specifically referencing a certain joke and asks the comic the process and feelings behind the joke. If you haven’t seen the special or heard the joke Wilstien plays the joke or bit in which they are talking about to give the listener context. Nick Kroll discussed Big Mouth and the upcoming spin off series Human Resources. Desus and Mero talk about the switch from Vice to Showtime. Bill Nye shows that he is more than just the science guy.

The podcast does speak to today’s cancel culture and how comedians are adapting to this new wave of “woke” comedy. From the interviews conducted on this podcast it seems that comedians like Bill Burr and Anthony Jeselnik are not going to be affected by the new culture. Comedy is the same as it has been…funny is funny.

Jim Gaffigan Thrills in American Dreamer

See Jim Gaffigan like you have never seen him before! In the new thriller American Dreamer, Gaffigan plays Cam, a ride-share driver with an anger problem that costs him his family and job. With no money in the bank and child support payments looming over him, Cam’s ex-wife won’t allow him to see his tween son. To earn money, Cam drives around strangers all day who don’t seem to notice his existence. Except one. Maz, a high-ranking drug dealer, uses Cam and his low-profile sedan as a mule, making him drive across the city all day and paying him in cash. When Cam drops off Maz at the end of the day, he sees Maz’s family (girlfriend Marina and his son) standing in the doorway. This reminds Cam of what he wants most, to see his son, and sets him into a rage. He finally knows what he has to do.

Cam develops a plan to kidnap Marina for $20,000 cash in ransom. He breaks into Maz’s house to find nothing but silence. Thinking his plan was foiled, he opens a bedroom door and there is Maz’s son watching TV. Cam, in a frenzy, decides to take the toddler instead of Marina. The rest of the film follows Maz as he searches the city for his son, only wanting to murder the person who has him, while Cam acts as his chauffeur.

Seeing Jim Gaffigan play such a dark twisted role is a change for someone who is a fan of his clean-cut stand-up comedy. The LA Times called Gaffigan “great, eschewing sentimentality as he taps into his frustration and rage – with no joke in sight.”

This is the first time Jim Gaffigan has given me chills. Be sure to watch the trailer here.

American Dreamer is available On Demand and can be rented on Amazon Prime or iTunes.   

Seth Meyers: Lobby Baby

Late Night with Seth Meyers host, Seth Meyers, has announced a new Netflix special that premiered on November 5th. The new special is called Lobby Baby, poking fun at Meyers’ own experience of having his second child born in the lobby of his New York apartment building in April 2018. You can watch Meyers tell the original story HERE. The teaser trailer for the special shows Meyers with a toy stage and figurine of himself after having a funny conversation with some small children playing with toys of their own.

The special was filmed in Minneapolis at the Pantages Theatre. Topics for the special include family and fatherhood as well as drawing on Meyers’ Saturday Night Live and stand-up background. It shows what a family man Meyers is and displays his affection for both his wife and two sons.

Having spent 13 seasons on the show, there is a plethora of material from which he can draw from. He is most known for his time on the news parody, Weekend Update. Additionally, he took over the 12:35/11:35pm time slot on NBC for Late Night in 2014 when Jimmy Fallon went to host The Tonight Show. Staple segments of his main show include Emmy-nominated “A Closer Look”, poking fun of the latest current events nightly.

This Netflix special features a “skip politics” button, for those who are just tired of Trump jokes as well, making it appealing to those who are tired of some of the political satire circulating the television and Internet circuits. Vulture, a subsidiary of New York Magazine describes the special as a “sweet, endearing wash of cuteness that is also good but a touch naughty”. Click HERE to read the full review.

This is definitely a special we have on our “must-watch-soon” list, and it should be on yours too!

Greg Giraldo: Good Day to Cross the River

Greg Giraldo, to some people, is considered an insult comic, just a roaster, but he was clever, dark, and relevant. A comic who provided more insight to current events, society and culture that was beyond his time. With the politically correct culture of today, wouldn’t it be great to hear what Giraldo would have to say? He was always working and pushing material that could offend but instead ended up shedding new light on a topic instead of preaching at an audience. The main goal was to be funny, but he was able to educate the audience to view things in a different way. Greg Giraldo was a Harvard educated lawyer that decided to leave that life for a comedian’s life. Good Day to Cross the River is an incredible album no matter where it would have been recorded but the venue and audience definitely helped. That venue was Comedy Works Downtown in Larimer Square and that audience was you!

Good Day to Cross the River was recorded in April 2006 and was released October 2006. This was Giraldo’s debut album and what a honor it was that he chose Comedy Works to record it. He opens with a pretty generic statement about Denver and where he is from in New York City. But of course Giraldo makes it his own in a matter of seconds winning the crowd over very quickly. He touches on religion, marriage, gay culture, and immigration.

Giraldo died on September 29th, 2010. It is sad that we will never hear any more new Giraldo comedy. He will be forever immortalized in this album and his sophomore album, Midlife Vices. This prolific comic was always the best on the Comedy Central Roasts. If you want to learn more about Greg Giraldo read his biography, Greg Giraldo: A Comedian’s Story by Matt Balaker and Wayne Jones. Best of all he has inspired a whole new generation of comics. Many comics today, especially coming out of New York right now, idolize Giraldo.

New Jim Jefferies show on NBC

If any comedy nerds out there miss Jim Jefferies’ FX show Legit, you should get excited about the new NBC show. NBC has committed to a new untitled Jim Jefferies-Suzanne Martin comedy pilot. The comedy will feature a fictional version of Jefferies. He will be starring in the show as himself offering commentary on modern life issues and the complexity of relationships. Currently there is not a premiere date that has been announced but look for one soon! In the meantime, check out Jefferies on his comedy show, The Jim Jefferies Show, on Comedy Central!

You Made It Weird with Pete Holmes

We are going to keep it weird this week. You Made It weird with Pete Holmes started out as Pete finding himself through talking to his friends. There have always been the 3 categories: Comedy, Sex, God. Which eventually became the title of Pete Holmes’ book that was released earlier this year. You Made it Weird started in 2011 and still has a strong following today. Listening to this over the years you are able to hear and enjoy Pete’s incredible journey both in his spiritual enlightenment and comedy evolution. This podcast propelled him to get his own show on TBS, spearheaded by Conan O’Brien; although short lived any weirdos that tuned in would see the fun inside jokes of the podcast on the screen. WASH MY DAMN TOWELS! HBO’s show Crashing felt like if the podcast were a show. You Made It Weird gave the fans of Pete Holmes to experience the real time development of Pete Holmes as a comic, person, father, and husband.

This comedy podcast started out with Pete interviewing his closest friends that consisted of his Chicago class of comics like Kyle Kinane, Kumail Nanjiani, and TJ Miller. It wasn’t long before Pete got the likes of Bill Burr, John Mulaney, and Hannibal Burress. All of which were long time friends of Pete as well.  Then there were some notably guests that are no longer with us like Harris Wittels and Brody Stevens. The list goes on and on. If you are interested in seeing the list of incredible guests click here to see the entire archive.

Do yourself a favor and listen to Bert Kreischer on You Made It Weird with Pete Holmes back in 2013. Before either of them were the household names like they are now. The giggling alone is worth the listen! At the end, they rewrite Ke$ha lyrics (starts at 153:10) and it is personally one of my favorite moments in podcast history. Also we can all agree that this is as classic as a Ke$ha song will ever get. Comics remain true to themselves no matter how the world around them or their thoughts have changed. You Made It Weird is the perfect example of just that. Always remember to KEEP IT CRISPY! Go forth and enjoy comedy!

Michael Kosta gets his first Comedy Central Special

Michael Kosta, currently seen on The Daily Show, is going to headline his first stand-up special on Comedy Central, the same network that produces The Daily Show. The special is going to be recorded from Detroit’s Gem Theatre in November and then air on TV sometime in Summer 2020. Kosta has appeared on popular shows such as The Tonight Show, Late Night with Seth Meyers, and Conan prior to joining the Comedy Central team. He is on our “must-see” up-and-coming comedian list making this special definitely one to check out!

Introduction to favorite podcasts

Podcasts changed the entertainment industry for better or for worse. In many ways, podcasting becoming a global phenomenon has propelled hard working comedians into the stratosphere. Some comedians have been doing comedy for 20 years and now can make it big on their own terms. The executives and gatekeepers are still there but do not carry as much clout as they once did. Not only are fans getting a weekly dose of their favorite people in entertainment, but also they can connect with the comics and sometimes have inside jokes or a secret language that only fans of the pod would understand. (FGTRTD for all those mommies out there).

For all the good that can come from comedian’s podcasts for fans and talent alike, there are downsides. A stand up set is a planned and deliberate telling of thoughts and ideas that are meant to evoke laughter.  Comics for the most part aren’t aiming to offend but to entertain unfortunately sometimes it doesn’t always work. Like bombing on stage, even the best of the best have off nights/days and say things that were funny in their head but when it was said aloud…it didn’t come out the exact way in which it was intended. Podcasts are, for the most part, friends sitting down with friends learning more about each other and breaking down the fourth wall to help the fans get a closer connection with their audience. Every word is recorded and aired without the ability to test the material beforehand so of course every 3 hour podcast that you listen to will not be squeaky clean and hilarious because just like everyone else, comics are human and say things they don’t mean or take something out of context. But if you want to be in this industry that is just a risk that you must be willing to take and fans couldn’t be happier that our favorite comics are willing to take that risk for our entertainment.

With all that being said, every Friday there will be a new blog about Comedy Works’ favorite podcasts. They could be new podcasts like 5 words with Sean Patton and Caitlin Cook, podcasts that have finished like Crabfeast with Jay Larson and Ryan Sickler, or shows that set the tone and landscape for the current podcast culture like Opie and Anthony. Check in next Friday to see which podcast will be the first of our favorites.

Who knows soon this may become a podcast about how great other podcasts are. There is a place for everything and everyone in the world of podcasting.