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The Best List of the Lists of the Best

Posted on by Emily Rosenberg

As another year draws to a freezing close, it’s traditional to look back over the previous 12 months and compile a list of items rated best or most memorable in a given category. It sure beats organizing your tax receipts.

In a slight variation from that cherished annual rite, which also required far less effort, here’s a list of some of the lists that other, more industrious people came up with. They catalog the funniest comedians, comedy movies, TV comedies, and comedy specials that amused America in 2014.

Following that list is an original MCS Blog® count of the past year’s most humor-worthy news events that comedians could have looked to for new jokes. During this holiday season, let us give thanks that we live in a country where there’s always a bounty of material from which a resourceful comic can draw. And you don’t even have to fact-check like Rolling Stone should have.

1.  Paste Magazine’s Top Comedians of 2014

2. Vulture’s Best Stand-Up Comedy Specials of 2014

3.  Movie Moron’s Biggest and Best Comedy Movies of 2014

4.  TV.com’s Best TV Comedies of 2014 

5. Top Current Events That Any Manhattan Comedy School Graduate Could Have Spun into Comedy Gold in 2014

● Vast numbers of people angrily declare they will no longer purchase Styrofoam balls and fabric paint from Hobby Lobby, after the Supreme Court rules in support of the craft chain store’s religious objection to providing insurance coverage for contraceptives. Employees ultimately prevail by crafting home-made IUDs using hot-glue guns and items from aisles 3, 7, and 12.

● Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 mysteriously disappears over the South China Sea. CNN dedicates hours of coverage to reporting the dearth of new information on its whereabouts. Meanwhile, no one notices that remnants of Amelia Earhart’s plane have been discovered, possibly because there are no Tweets from the pilot to offer audiences in lieu of verified facts.

● A nurse who has returned to the U.S. after treating ebola patients in Sierra Leone refuses to be quarantined as a public health measure. She picks a fight with Governor Chris Christie, now the most popular past-time in New Jersey to replace whatever people who shopped at Hobby Lobby did before.

● General Motors recalls nearly 800,000 vehicles for having faulty ignition switches, prompting celebration among comics who can now adapt those 40-year-old Ford Pinto jokes.

● Colorado legalizes the purchase of marijuana for recreational purposes. The challenge here is to develop jokes that do not involve references to Rocky Mountain High or renaming the city of Boulder “Stoned.”

● Voters in Scotland elect not to become independent from the United Kingdom, presenting a perfect opportunity to reconfigure material involving kilts, haggis, and Sean Connery impressions. Seasoned comics, however, will steer clear of the hackneyed “I cannae change the laws of geopolitics, Cap’n Kirk!”

● The fact that both Charles Keating and Charles Keating, Jr., who are neither related nor particularly well-known anymore, died within months of each other. Anxious obituary writers across the nation form a support group with whoever accidentally posted the Kirk Douglas obituary in People.

● The wedding of Kim and Kanye, a.k.a. “fish in a barrel.”

 

 

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Andy’s Tuesday Tips: Meet Comedy Festival Producer Journey Gunderson (Part 2)

Posted on by andy

Journey Gunderson is the Producer of the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival and Executive Director of the National Comedy Center and the Lucy-Desi Center for Comedy.

Andy Engel: Can you name any comics that have performed at the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival? Did any comedians get their first break at the festival?

Journey Gunderson: The great thing about this festival is that you can get a chance to see legends like Joan Rivers or Jerry Seinfeld, then head to a show with Machi and Carmen Lynch, and the next day go to an afternoon program where Lucille Ball’s 25-year personal secretary recounts Ball’s path from B-movie star, to I Love Lucy mega-star, to industry mogul as the first female head of the largest Hollywood studio of its era, Desilu (now Paramount).  Every year is once-in-a-lifetime in Jamestown.

AE: Can you give me a detailed update on the National Comedy Center?

Journey: We’re well underway developing the National Comedy Center in Jamestown.  The NCC is an experiential attraction based on the celebration of comedy: the craft and its contributors.

A 501(c)(3) non-profit, it honors the craft and the artists’ respective contributions to the art form with its exhibit experience, celebrates the best of contemporary comedy with its live programming, and cultivates the comedic arts with professional development and support for artists.

About a $33 million project, opening as soon as July 2016, the visitor experience is being designed by world-renowned creative firms: Jack Rouse Associates, “one of the world’s more prominent design firms” (Wall Street Journal), and interactive specialist Local Projects, which just completed work on the 9/11 Memorial Museum.

I guess you could say it is at once what the Kennedy Center is to the performing arts, what Cooperstown is to baseball, and what the Met is to Monet. We lost Harold Ramis, Robin Williams, Joan Rivers, Jonathan Winters, and so many more in just the last two years. This is the place you can go, or take your kids someday, to celebrate their work, because how they enriched American culture is important. It matters.

It will also be a truly fun and funny experience centered around the craft.  I can’t think of a better place to visit, and by coming to the Lucille Ball Comedy Fest, you actually support the National Comedy Center’s development.

For more information, visit the site for the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival and read the Comedy Festival Blog.

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One-Stop Shopping for All Your Humor Needs

Posted on by Emily Rosenberg

Every year, you waste precious pre-holiday hours wracking your brain to think of an appropriate gift for your wittiest friends and family members. But now there’s no need to settle for a clock shaped like a frying pan or a unicorn horn for their cat. Those hard-to-please loved ones will thank you over and over–perhaps even with that suit made entirely out of bubble wrap you’ve had your eye on–when they open your gift certificate to Manhattan Comedy School‘s beginner stand-up comedy course.

No matter how funny your giftee is, they’ll become even funnier after six weeks of learning the craft from a seasoned comic with years of experience in the industry. Students in the MCS Level 1 stand-up class learn how to write effective jokes, develop a professional-calibre set, and command the comedy stage.

In the process, as they build confidence and polish their presentation skills, they’ll experience the ego-boosting adrenaline surge that comes with doing stand-up comedy. What’s more, what they master will serve them whether they want to start a new career on stage or be better at the one they have.

MCS courses conclude with each graduate performing live at the Gotham Comedy Club–an appearance that’s recorded on a DVD just for them. Big-name special guests, including Jerry Seinfeld, Louis CK, Jim Gaffigan, and Sherri Shepherd, often appear for these shows as well, making the experience even more exhilirating for both the performers and the audience.

Gift certificates are good for any Level 1 class, and are valid for up to 12 months from the date of purchase. Limited numbers are available, so hurry and get some for the 12 days of Christmas, the eight nights of Hanukkah, or the week of Kwanzaa.

Scroll down here to purchase: http://www.manhattancomedyschool.com/classes-and-registration/

Recipients choose the class they want to attend (continuing start dates are posted at the link above), and then contact MCS at least two weeks in advance to register. All classes are held at 54th and Broadway, in the heart of the Theater District.

For more information, call (212) 896-3911.

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Hyuk! The Stand-Up Comics Zing

Posted on by Emily Rosenberg

‘Tis literally the season to be jolly when your friends, loved ones, and co-workers find your gift certificate to Manhattan Comedy School‘s beginner stand-up comedy course in their stockings. Or you could offer this unique present on the first night of Hanukkah, right before you serve the latkes. It’s also great to give after you light the kinara, since learning the art of comedy fulfills the principle of Kuumba celebrated during Kwanzaa.

The fact is, no amount of free shipping beats the gift of six weeks of learning how to make people laugh.

Students in the MCS Level 1 stand-up comedy class learn how to write jokes, develop an effective set, and command the stage like a pro. In the process, they’ll build confidence and polish their presentation skills while they experience the ego-boosting adrenaline surge that comes with doing stand-up comedy. What they master will serve them whether they want to change careers or keep the one they have.

Taught by a seasoned comic with years of experience in the industry, MCS courses conclude with each graduate performing live at the Gotham Comedy Club–an appearance that’s recorded on a DVD just for them. Big-name special guests, including Jerry Seinfeld, Louis CK, Jim Gaffigan, and Sherri Shepherd, often appear for these shows as well, making the experience even more exhilirating for both the performers and the audience.

Gift certificates are good for any Level 1 class, and are valid for up to 12 months from the date of purchase. Limited numbers are available, so hurry and get some for the 12 days of Christmas, the eight nights of Hanukkah, or the week of Kwanzaa.

Scroll down here to purchase: http://www.manhattancomedyschool.com/classes-and-registration/

Recipients choose the class they want to attend (continuing start dates are posted at the link above), and then contact MCS at least two weeks in advance to register. All classes are held at 54th and Broadway, in the heart of the Theater District.

For more information, call (212) 896-3911.

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How to Not Go Postal this Holiday Season

Posted on by Emily Rosenberg

Does your boss get a little touchy around this time of year? Do your friends grow depressed when the holiday decorations start appearing in the stores? Is your mailman overreacting to the impending bankruptcy of the United States Postal Service?  You can help!

With your gift certificate to Manhattan Comedy School‘s beginner stand-up comedy classes, all their troubles will be washed away in only six weeks.  Instead of finding out why they hate their mothers, students learn how to write jokes, develop an effective set, and command a real comedy club stage. They’ll build confidence, increase their comfort in front of strangers, and polish their presentation skills as they experience the ego-boosting adrenaline surge that comes with doing stand-up comedy. Maybe your mailman can launch a new career before he has to head to the unemployment office.

Taught by a seasoned comic with years of experience in the industry, MCS courses conclude with each graduate performing live at the Gotham Comedy Club–an appearance that’s recorded on a DVD just for them. Adding to the excitement, big-name special guests, including Jerry Seinfeld, Louis CK, Jim Gaffigan, and Sherri Shepherd, often appear for these shows as well.

Gift certificates are good for any Level 1 class, and are valid for up to 12 months from the date of purchase. Limited numbers are available, so hurry and get a few of them for all your morose pals. They’re cheaper than Xanax with none of the sexual side-effects!

Scroll down here to purchase: http://www.manhattancomedyschool.com/classes-and-registration/

Recipients choose the class they want to attend (continuing start dates are posted at the link above), and then contact MCS at least two weeks in advance to register. All classes are held at 54th and Broadway, in the heart of the Theater District.

For more information, call (212) 896-3911.

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Andy’s Tuesday Tips: Meet Comedy Festival Producer Journey Gunderson (Part 1)

Posted on by andy

Journey Gunderson is the Producer of the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival and Executive Director of the National Comedy Center and the Lucy Desi Center for Comedy.

Andy Engel: What specifically makes the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival different from other comedy festivals?

JG: The Lucille Ball Comedy Festival takes place in her hometown of Jamestown, New York.  It was her vision for her hometown to celebrate the comedic arts.  What’s unique is the mix of contemporary, current comedians along with events celebrating comedy and Lucy’s legacy through a nostalgic lens.

 AE: Can you give me some insight on the typical level of experience of the comics who take part in the Lucille Ball festival? How many years have they been performing on average?

JG: From Jerry Seinfeld [2015 headliner] to Joe Machi, Jay Leno to Mark Normand, this festival presents the biggest names along with the best rising voices.  All get paid spots and have a good amount of road experience; some have agents while others don’t.  Our 2013 Festival album, Live From Jamestown, features Myq Kaplan, Jackie Kashian, Mark Normand, Joe Machi, Sean Keane, Kelly MacFarland, Harrison Greenbaum, Andi Smith, Calise Hawkins, Keith Alberstadt, Josh Gondelman, Andy Hendrickson, Kelly Collette, Jim Tews and Andy Sandford, while our 2014 album, yet to release, includes some great names like Caroline Rhea, Tom Cotter, Carmen Lynch, Moody McCarthy, Mike Brody and Pete Lee.

AE: Can you name any comics that have performed at the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival? Did any comedians get their first break there?

JG: In the early nineties, we presented Ellen Degeneres, Ray Romano, “Lew” Black–as he went by at the time–George Wallace, and Paula Poundstone.  Since 2011, we’ve presented Joan Rivers, Jay Leno, Kathleen Madigan, Billy Gardell, Bill Engvall, and Martin Short.

Degeneres and Black were nowhere near household names when they played Jamestown, much like Joe Machi wasn’t in 2012 or ’13 when we presented him here, but in 2014 people flocked to his show, knowing him from Last Comic Standing.  He’s on the rise just as they were at the time.

For more information and updates about the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival, visit the site at Lucille Ball Comedy Festival.

Here’s a blog post:  Jerry Seinfeld at Lucille Ball Comedy Festival

Part 2 of my interview with Journey Gunderson in the next Tuesday Tips!

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Spread Joy Throughout the Land, Via Microphone

Posted on by Emily Rosenberg

It’s the season when people start making resolutions to improve themselves in the coming year, but losing 20 pounds or organizing the hall closet is so 2014. You can help your friends, family, and coworkers make truly exciting changes in their lives with a gift certificate to Manhattan Comedy School‘s six-week beginner stand-up comedy classes.

Your unique gift will be the ticket to a whole new world. Whether the recipient is determined to finally go after an entertainment career, enhance their public speaking skills to help the one they’ve got, or just experience the ego-boosting adrenaline surge that comes with performing live at New York City’s most celebrated comedy club, MCS will advance them toward their goal in a fun, creative, and innovative way.

An accomplished industry professional teaches students all the skills they need to command the comedy stage, then each one gets to perform live at the Gotham Comedy Club.  The appearance is also recorded on a DVD just for them. What’s more, performers at MCS graduation shows have been joined on the stage by big-name special guests including Jerry Seinfeld, Louis CK, Jim Gaffigan, and Sherri Shepherd.

Gift certificates are good for any Level 1 class, and are valid for up to 12 months from the date of purchase. Limited numbers are available, so hurry and get a few of them.

Scroll down here to purchase: http://www.manhattancomedyschool.com/classes-and-registration/

Recipients choose the class they want to attend (continuing start dates are posted at the link above), and then contact MCS at least two weeks in advance to register. All classes are held at 54th and Broadway, in the heart of the Theater District.

For more information, call (212) 896-3911.

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Money CAN Buy Happiness, Which Makes a Great Gift

Posted on by Emily Rosenberg

Face it, no one wants to look under the tree and find a cat straitjacket, furniture that conceals their guns, or an inflatable necktie for taking naps at work.

Numerous studies have shown that a full 98 percent* of the population prefers practical holiday presents that are also great fun–for example, gift certificates to professionally-taught courses to learn how to become a comedian. The skills the recipient masters are invaluable not only for fledgling comics and actors, but for people with jobs that require polished public speaking or presentation skills.

Fortunately, Manhattan Comedy School, the leading school of its kind, is now offering just such gift certificates for its six-week beginner stand-up comedy classes. To showcase what they’ve learned, each student also gets to perform live on the Gotham Comedy Club main stage, and the sppearance is recorded on a DVD just for them.

Lewis Black, International Headliner on Comedy Central, The Daily Show, and HBO, agrees that MCS classes are a timeless gift that will be cherished for a lifetime. “So you want to be a comic. Well, get off your ass and do something about it,” he says. “I can think of no better place to start than the Manhattan Comedy School. The faculty is exceptional. It’s a roster of comics that I truly admire.”

Gift certificates are good for any Level 1 class, and are valid for up to 12 months from the date of purchase. Limited numbers are available, so hurry and get a few of them for all those hilarious friends, family, and doormen.

Scroll down here to purchase: http://www.manhattancomedyschool.com/classes-and-registration/

Recipients just choose the class they want to attend (continuing start dates are posted at the link above), and then contact MCS at least two weeks in advance to register. All classes are held at 54th and Broadway, in the heart of the Theater District.

For more information, call (212) 896-3911.

*The remaining 2 percent want an excruciatingly painful death visited upon their enemies.

 

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Andy’s Tuesday Tribute: A Salute to Veterans

Posted on by andy

In honor of Veterans Day, and in lieu of the typical Tuesday Tips, I wanted to pay tribute to all the comedians who have served in the military.

This is a partial list of comedians who previously served in the Armed Forces of the United States:

In addition, I want to honor and salute all the men and women who have served, past and present.

Over the past several decades many of America’s most famous comedians have taken part in United Service Organization, Inc. (USO) Tours. Here’s Robin Williams performing for the troops at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan in December 2004:

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Give the Gift That Gives You a Good Laugh

Posted on by Emily Rosenberg

Reward that someone in your life who makes you laugh by ensuring they never stop being funny. Manhattan Comedy School is now offering gift certificates to beginner stand-up comedy classes, taught by a real-live working pro.

MCS’s six-week training course rounds up with each student giving a live performance on the Gotham Comedy Club main stage, which is recorded on a DVD they get to keep. Recent graduation shows also included special guests Jerry Seinfeld, Louis CK, Jim Gaffigan, and Sherri Shepherd.

It’s the the gift that keeps on giving. Whether you’re ready to launch a new career on stage  or just improve your public speaking for the job you’re keeping, you’ll benefit from polishing the skills required to be a comedian. Even better, you’ll find out how performing stand-up is the ultimate natural high, perfect for realigning your karma after a tough day.

Gift certificates are good for any Level 1 class, and are valid for up to 12 months from the date of purchase. Limited numbers are available, so hurry and get a few of them for all those hilarious friends, family, and doormen!

Scroll down here to buy gift certificates: http://www.manhattancomedyschool.com/classes-and-registration/

Recipients just choose the class they want to attend (continuing start dates are posted at the link above), and contact MCS at least two weeks in advance to register. All classes are held at 54th and Broadway, in the heart of the Theater District.

For more information, call (212) 896-3911.

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