"My count is now up to five. Five of my friends and fellow comedians have taken their own life. It's shocking, but, sadly, not surprising. Non-comedians — or as we call them, 'civilians' — are always surprised. And I am always surprised they're so surprised. They have yet to realize the Two Big Things all comedians know." [may be triggering] [more inside]
Melissa Villasenor does stand-up comedy, but also likes to sing, both as a part of her act and just because she's good at it. She garnered some attention for her impressions on America's Got Talent (various videos abound) and does a mean Maria Bamford.
Two whole stand-up performances by comedian Daniel Kitson can be downloaded on a pay-what-you-want basis (even if you want to pay nothing). These are the 2004 and 2005 Edinburgh performances (2004 performance previously on MeFi). Kitson has also recorded a story album with musician Gavin Osborn, selling for ₤2.50, and the first three tracks, of eleven, can be streamed online. [via The Bugle]
"Anybody else give up the use of their left side for Lent?" Carl Warmenhoven, the owner of a Seattle's Comedy Underground had a stroke -- and two weeks later does a stand-up routine about it. [SLYT, via SLOG]
Can a stand-up comedian's performance be objectively evaluated and ranked? In the recent documentary I Am Comic [imdb | clips], Steve Roye demonstrates his product, the Comedy Evaluator Pro. A "Positive Audience Response" (PAR) score is the percentage of PAR during the time the comedian is on the stage (not taking into account other factors such as venue size, etc.). Of course, this method stirs controversy about the art vs. science of stand-up. Ritch Shydner, the protagonist of I Am Comic, thinks that booking agents shouldn't rely on PAR scores to choose who gets to be on stage, while the director of I Am Comic, Jordan Brady, disagrees, seeing PAR as a way to elevate the quality of stand-up. So, drum roll, please: Who is the world's funniest comedian? According to PAR score, it's J.R. Redwater, during this bit at the Pow Wow Comedy Jam. [agree | disagree]
At three minutes per philosopher, you can finally spare the time to learn what Descartes, Hume, Aristotle, Locke, Galileo, Pythagoras, Aquinas, and Kant had to say. Or at least you can be entertained learning what Cracked.com contributor S. Peter Davis thinks you should know about them. (MLYT & NSFW (language))
Life as a Comic is series of short videos by Rob Paravonian (famous for The Pachelbel Rant) about what it's like to be a working stand-up comic. It has recently started up again after a long break. Here's the first episode which is about doing gigs at venues which aren't full-time comedy clubs. Direct links to the rest of the episodes, all of which are in quicktime-format, below the cut. [more inside]
Maria Bamford's One-Hour Homemade Christmas Special! by Maria Bamford, stand-up comic and pretty much a native speaker in Pretend Tiger. FYI, if you've heard some of those jokes before... it's a gift! She made it for us, for Christmas, to celebrate her success at selling out this year.
Lost in translation. British Comedian Stewart Lee explores comedy in Germany and finds it stymied by the peculiarities of language and sentence construction. Mark Liberman at Language Log disagrees. And an extended essay by Josh Schonwald explores in greater depth how the German comedy scene is transitioning (PDF) from the more traditional kabernett to a burgeoning stand-up comedy scene, which is characterized by one observer as being in "the Bob Hope phase of comedy."
Tonight, I found a bevy of Bill Hicks mp3s. God, he was hilarious. He was more a truth-teller than a comedian. Luckily, there's still people out there that dig him too, including the great site at BillHicks.com. Among the many cool things at that site is a huge archive of audio clips of his standup and interviews.