comedy

Piff The Magic Dragon will be performing at the Funny Bone in Albany tonight – Saturday, January 20th as part of his all-new 2018 tour The Dog Who Knows.

If the name doesn’t immediately conjure up an image of a grumpy-yet-hilariously-entertaining-English-comedian dressed in what looks like a handmade dragon costume (who performs magic tricks with his doggie in tow) then you simply don’t have your finger on the pulse of the comedy scene.

Piff rose to fame as the stand out star of season 10 of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” earning high praise from judges Howie Mandel and Howard Stern before reaching the top 10 in the finals.

Since then, Piff has made Las Vegas his home, where he has a residency at The Flamingo casino on a regular basis.

Al Gini and Book Cover - The Importance of Being Funny
The Main Edge

When E. B. White said “analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog; few people are interested and the frog dies,” he hadn’t seen Al Gini’s hilarious, incisive, and informative take on jokes, joke-telling, and the jokers who tell jokes. For Gini, humor is more than just foolish fun: it serves as a safety valve for dealing with reality that gives us the courage to endure that which we cannot understand or avoid. Not everyone tells jokes. Not everyone gets a joke, even a good one. But, Gini argues, joke-telling can act as both a sword and a shield to defend us from reality. As the late, great stand-up comic Joan Rivers put it: ‘If you can laugh at it, you can live with it!’ 

Al Gini is a Professor of Business Ethics at the Quinlan School of Business at Loyola University Chicago. For over twenty-seven years he was the Resident Philosopher on National Public Radio’s Chicago affiliate, WBEZ-FM, and can currently be heard on WGN/Tribune Radio. His newest book is The Importance of Being Funny: Why We Need More Jokes In Our Lives.

Sam Wasson is the author of five books including the best-selling "Fosse" and "Fifth Avenue, 5 AM: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and the Dawn of the Modern Woman."

His new book, "Improv Nation," shares the history of a uniquely American art form that has never been more popular.

At the height of the McCarthy era, an experimental theater troupe set up shop in a bar near the University of Chicago. Via word-of-mouth, astonished crowds packed the ad-hoc venue to see its unscripted, interactive, consciousness-raising style. From this unlikely seed grew the Second City, the massively influential comedy theater troupe, and its offshoots—the Groundlings, Upright Citizens Brigade, "SNL," and a slew of others.

  Shawn Stone joins us to talk about what he's seen lately and what cultural events are coming up this week in our region.

Seen: "I, Tonya" and "The Shape of Water"

  Shawn Stone joins us to talk about what he's seen lately and what cultural events are coming up this week in our region.

Seen: "Darkest Hour," "All the Money in the World"

Upcoming:
Anders Parker and Cloud Badge - The Low Beat, Albany, Thursday 1/4, 8 PM
Slambovian Circus of Dreams - Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs, Friday 1/5, 8 PM
Josh Gondelman - The Comedy Works, Saratoga Springs, Friday 1/5 & Saturday 1/6 at 7:30, 9:30 PM
"Chicago: The Musical" - Proctors, Mainstage, Schenectady, Friday 1/5 through Sunday 1/7, various times
"Cinderella Tales" - Steamer No. 10 Theatre, Albany, Friday 1/5 at 7 PM; Saturday-Sunday 1/6-7 at 3 PM; thru Jan. 15
Jaimoe’s Jasssz Band - The Egg, Albany, Saturday 1/6, 8 PM
Albany Symphony Orchestra: Beethoven’s Fifth with Richard O’Neill, viola - Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy, Saturday 1/6 at 7:30 PM, Sunday 1/7 at 3 PM
Black Label Society - Upstate Concert Hall, Clifton Park, Sunday 1/7, 8 PM

New movies: "I, Tonya," "Molly’s Game," "Insidious: The Last Key"

Shawn Stone joins us to talk about what he's seen lately and what cultural events are coming up this week in our region.

Seen: "Star Wars: The Last Jedi"

Upcoming:

He has dazzled audiences of theater, television and film for decades and has earned two Tony Awards, two Daytime Emmy Awards, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and numerous other accolades and nominations. The incomparable Nathan Lane will be live on stage for an evening of conversation and Q&A at Proctors on November 10th. 

The evening will begin with a showing of one of his most defining and hilarious films, "The Birdcage," followed by a live moderated discussion.

"Smile! You're on Candid Camera!" Over eight different decades, nearly everyone who watches TV can happily relate to that phrase. Now Peter Funt, the show’s host, brings it to life in a show featuring clips, quips and great fun! “Candid Camera’s 8 Decades of Smiles! With Peter Funt,” is coming to the Wood Theater in Glens Falls, NY. The stage comedy is blended with a behind-the-scenes peek at the show’s funniest moments.

Created by Peter’s father, Allen Funt, "Candid Camera" is the only entertainment program to have produced new episodes in each of the last eight decades – from Allen’s start on TV in August, 1948, through Peter’s run on TV Land last year.

Using "Candid Camera’s" vast library, Peter showcases decades of fun and reveals what happened when the cameras weren’t rolling. Peter Funt joins us.

Demetri Martin
Demetri Martin

Writer, actor, comedian, film director and all-around smart guy Demetri Martin is mounting a 40-city stand-up tour this fall. The Conan O’Brien and Daily Show alum recently directed and starred in his first feature film, Dean. He also had a Comedy Central series called Important Things. The standup tour Let’s Get Awkward will bring Martin to The Egg in Albany on October 6 at 8 p.m.

Comedian Kevin McCaffrey will be headlining Pretty Much the Best Comedy Show at Proctors tomorrow night.

McCaffrey made his network TV debut on The Late Show with David Letterman in November 2013, and was hired to write and warm-up for the show for the remainder of its run.

In addition to Letterman, Kevin has also written for VH1, National Lampoon, Fuse TV, and various celebrity awards shows. Kevin hosts College Stories with Kevin McCaffrey, a weekly podcast talking to comics, writers, and actors about their stay in college, and their best/funniest/craziest stories from that time.

Mario Cantone is back for another hilarious night of comedy and music at Bearsville Theater on September 16th as part of the 5th Annual Woodstock Comedy Festival. From Liza Minnelli to Julia Childs, come see Mario's best impressions, stories, music and all new jokes. 

Mario is a Tony nominated comedian who is best known for his role as Anthony on the hit HBO series Sex and the City is also an accomplished stage actor and singer. He has performed on Broadway in Shakespeare’s The TempestLove! Valor! Compassion!Assassins, and his one-man show, Laugh Whore.

Besides his acting career, he has conquered the comedy scene performing as a standup and impressionist in venues like Carnegie Hall.

Theatre On The Road

Sep 7, 2017

Theatre on the Road is the creation of Frank and Kristen Marquette. They have been producing public and private theatrical events since 1998.

Under the name Murder Café, the Marquettes had an 11 year run in Las Vegas where they specialized in corporate entertainment with an emphasis on comedy murder mysteries. Frank and Kristen returned to their native New York State in 2009 and brought Murder Café with them.

Since returning to New York, the Maruqettes created Theatre on the Road to bring educational performances to schools, historic sites, and local theaters.

Theatre on the Road’s performance venues include The Vanderbilt House in Philmont, The Beekman Arms in Rhinebeck, Bannerman Island Castle, the Pride of the Hudson in Newburgh, Dutch’s Spirits in Pine Plains, Columbia-Greene Community College in Hudson, and Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz.

Their fall shows include Whiskey Women and War of the Worlds.

Local improv company Happier Valley Comedy has a new addition to their Comedy School line up of classes for this Fall. Family Improv is a six-week class held on Sunday afternoons beginning in September and is geared to kids 8-12 and their adults.

Family Improv gives families the opportunity to laugh with a loved one and bond over fun improvisation games and exercises. The Family Improv curriculum is guided by the principles of acceptance, mindfulness, quieting judgment of self and others, and strengthening communication, all while having a blast playing together. 

Happier Valley Comedy is the heart of improv comedy in the Pioneer Valley, and offers a full curriculum improv school, regular improv comedy shows, and the "Through Laughter" program for professional and personal development. Happier Valley Comedy was founded in 2015 by Pam Victor in her quest to make the Happy Valley happier. 

Paula Poundstone is a popular panelist on NPR’s weekly comedy quiz program Wait Wait . . . Don’t Tell Me!. She tours regularly, performing standup throughout the country. Poundstone was the first woman ever to share the stage with the President as host at the White House Correspondents' Dinner. Her new book is The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness.

She will perform at The Mahaiwe in Great Barrington, MA at the Fairview Hospital Gala on September 16, at Troy Savings Bank Music Hall on October 13, and at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts on October 14.

Shawn Stone joins us to talk about what he's seen lately and what cultural events are coming up this week in our region.

Seen: Wind River, Logan Lucky,The Midwife

Upcoming:
Joe Magnerelli & Stacy Dillard with Sketches of Influence - Van Dyck Lounge, Schenectady, Thursday 8/24, 7:30 and 9 PM
Earth, Wind & Fire (with opening comedian JB Smoove) - SPAC, Saratoga Springs, Thursday 8/24, 7:30 PM
Disney’s The Lion King Jr.: Park Playhouse Kids Production - Cohoes Music Hall, Cohoes, Thursday 8/24 at 2 PM; Friday 8/25–Saturday 8/26 at 2 and 7 PM
The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming! - MASS MoCA presents at the Harriman-West Airport, North Adams, Mass., Friday 8/25, 8 PM
Ephrat Asherie Dance - PS 21, Chatham, Friday 8/25 and Saturday 8/26 at 8 PM
Chasing The Tale - Albany International Airport Gallery, Albany, opens Saturday 8/26 (through Feb. 26, 2018); reception September 15, 5:30-7:30 PM
Pretty Much the Best Comedy Show: Casey James with Courtney Maginnis and Guest - Underground at Proctors, Schenectady, Saturday 8/26, 8 PM
Trio Solisti perform music of Dvorak, Jennifer Higdon and Schubert - Maverick Concerts, Woodstock, Sunday 8/27, 4 PM
Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company - (Made in the Shade of) The Egg, Albany, Wednesday 8/30, noon
Annie - Capitol Park After Dark, NYS Capitol, Albany, Wednesday 8/30, 8 PM

New movies: Brigsby Bear, Ingrid Goes West, Good Time, Leap!

David Sedaris
Ingrid Christie

David Sedaris is the author of the books Let's Explore Diabetes with OwlsSquirrel Seeks ChipmunkWhen You Are Engulfed in FlamesDress Your Family in Corduroy and DenimMe Talk Pretty One DayHolidays on IceNaked, and Barrel Fever. He is a regular contributor to The New Yorker and BBC Radio 4.

The beloved author and humorist will be at Tanglewood on Sunday, August 20 at 8p.m. 

His new book is Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977-2002).

Shawn Stone joins us to talk about what he's seen lately and what cultural events are coming up this week in our region.

Seen: The Dark Tower, Atomic Blonde

Upcoming:

Godspell 2012 - Theater Barn, New Lebanon, opens 8/10 (Thursday) at 8 PM, through August 20.

The Philadelphia Orchestra American Classics - SPAC, Saratoga Springs - 8/10 (Thursday), 8 PM, All-Gershwin program featuring Marcus Roberts Trio; 8/11 (Friday), 8 PM, Ives, Metheny & Mays, Dvorak program featuring Christopher Deviney (vibraphone) & She-e Wu (marimba)

Spamalot - Mac-Haydn Theatre, Chatham, opens 8/10 (Thursday) at 2 and 8 PM, through August 20.

Suzanne Vega, the DuPont Brothers - Helsinki Hudson, Hudson, 8/11 (Friday), 9 PM

Capitolfest (Vintage Film Festival) highlighting films starring Fay Wray - Capitol Theatre, Rome, 8/11 (Friday) through 8/13 (Sunday)

Tracy Morgan - Funny Bone Comedy Club at Crossgates Mall, Guilderland, 8/12 (Saturday), 7 and 10 PM

The Stick Men featuring Tony Levin - Van Dyck Lounge, Schenectady, 8/12 (Saturday), 6:30 & 8:30 PM

Banjo Revelry VI - Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs, 8/12 (Saturday), 8 PM

Buddy Guy - The Egg, Albany 8/15 (Tuesday), 7:30 PM

Ambrose Akinmusire Quartet - EMPAC Theater, Troy, 8/16 (Wednesday), 8 PM

New movies: The Glass Castle, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, The Midwife, City of Ghosts, The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature, Annabelle: Creation


  Mischief Theatre’s The Play That Goes Wrong has been doing so on Broadway since March of this year.

 

In the play, it’s opening night of The Murder at Haversham Manor where things are quickly going from bad to utterly disastrous. With an unconscious leading lady, a corpse that can’t play dead, and actors who trip over everything (including their lines) - the mad-cap romp meticulously disintegrates at The Lyceum Theatre on 45th Street.

Winner of the Tony Award for Best Scenic Design of a Play, The Play That Goes Wrong is directed by Mark Bell and written by Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, and Henry Shields. Lewis, Sayer, and Shields also star -- and two of the actor/co-creators -- Henry Lewis and Jonathan Sayer - sat down with us in New York City.

Tony Hale as Clark Hill in Brave New Jersey
BONDIT, THE SHOT CLOCK, GRAVITAS VENTURES

In the new film Brave New Jersey, Tony Hale plays Mayor Clark Hill - a sweet and subservient man who finds the drive to pursue what he’s always wanted when Orson Welle’s War of the Worlds radio broadcast in 1938 convinces his town that it may be the last night of their lives.

Hale is best known as the youngest Bluth brother, Buster, on the now-Netflix-formerly-Fox favorite Arrested Development and as Selina Meyer’s personal-aide and bag-man on HBO’s Veep.

Shawn Stone joins us to talk about what he's seen lately and what cultural events are coming up this week in our region.

Seen: Maudie, Dunkirk, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Upcoming:

Sweeney Todd - Mac-Haydn Theatre, Chatham, opens 7/27 Thursday (2 and 8 PM) through Aug. 6

Old Salt Union, Chris Kasper - Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs, 7/27 Thursday, 7 PM

John Mulaney: Kid Gorgeous - Palace Theatre, Albany, 7/27 Thursday, 7 and 9:30 PM [7 PM sold out]

Phantogram - The Egg, Albany, 7/27 Thursday, 8 PM

The Capitol Steps were founded in December, 1981 when some staffers for Senator Charles Percy were planning entertainment for a Christmas party. Since then, they’ve been putting the “mock” in democracy in Washington, D.C., on tour, on the radio, and – during the summer – here in Lenox, MA.

The musical satirists call The Cranwell Spa and Golf Resort their summer home – performing here every night except Tuesday through September 1.

CapSteppers Brad Van Grack and Delores Williams join us.

Shawn Stone joins us to talk about what he's seen lately and what cultural events are coming up this week in our region.

Seen: Spider-Man: Homecoming

Upcoming:
The Funky Meters - Alive @ Five Rain Site, Corning Preserve Boat Launch, Albany, Thursday 7/13, 5-8 PM
Hans Tutschku: Spatial Audio Performance - EMPAC Concert Hall, Troy, Thursday 7/13, 7 PM
Kids Day with PJ Masks and Pete the Cat - Empires State Plaza, Albany, Saturday 7/15, noon-5 PM
Mad Max, with live score by Morricone Youth - MASS MoCA, North Adams, Saturday 7/15, 8:30 PM
Boston Symphony Orchestra with violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter (Williams, Tchaikovsky, Berlioz) - Tanglewood Shed, Lenox, 7/16 Sunday, 2:30 PM
Parker Quartet (Stravinsky, Aaron Jay Kernis, Brahms) - Maverick Concerts, Woodstock, Sunday 7/16, 4 PM
The Moody Blues: Days of Future Past - SPAC, Saratoga Springs, Sunday 7/16, 8 PM
Find Your Way Home - Palace Theatre, Albany, Monday 7/17, 7:30 PM
Robert Earl Keen - The Egg, Albany, Tuesday 7/18, 7:30 PM
Soul Asylum, Cracker - Empire State Plaza, Albany, Wednesday 7/19, 5-8 PM

New movies: War for the Planet of the Apes, Wish Upon, The Big Sick

Voice Theatre is a professional company based at the historic landmark Byrdcliffe Theater in Woodstock, NY. They create new productions and explore relevant dimensions of classic works.

Their production of Thornton Wilder’s The Skin Of Our Teeth opens tonight. In it - the prehistoric world meets Suburbia. The Antrobus family – George and Maggie, their children, Gladys and Henry, and Sabina, a maid who is also George’s mistress – survive the Election, Climate Change and the End of the World. Combining tragedy with comedy, wit, intelligence and imagination the play is one of the defining moments in American Theater.

To tell us more – we welcome actors: Christa Trinler playing Sabina and Phil Mansfield who is playing George Antrobud along with Shauna Kanter - director and artistic Director of Voice Theatre. 

Shawn Stone joins us to talk about what he's seen lately and what cultural events are coming up this week in our region.

Seen: The Beguiled

Upcoming:

Cold War Classics: Rocky IV, Red Dawn - Madison Theater, Albany, Thursday 7/6 through Sunday 7/9, various times

Mamma Mia! - Capital Repertory Theatre, Albany, opens Friday 7/7, 8 PM (thru 8/13)

Jonathan Edwards - Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs, Friday 7/7, 8 PM

Michael Winslow - Funny Bone, Crossgates Mall, Guilderland, Friday 7/7 through Sunday 7/9, various times

Opera Saratoga: The Cradle Will Rock - Spa Little Theater, Saratoga Springs, Sunday 7/9, 7:30 PM; Tuesday 7/11, 2 PM

Samantha Farrell - The Clark, Williamstown, Tuesday 7/11, 6:30 PM

Free Film Series: Kung Fu Panda - Palace Theatre, Albany, Tuesday 7/11, 1 PM

Pink Martini - Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, Tuesday 7/11, 8 PM

Knights of the Sales Office - Adirondack Theatre Festival, Chas. R. Wood Theater, Glens Falls, opens Tuesday 7/11, 7:30 PM (thru 7/20)

Sam Roberts Band, Rechorduroys - Empire State Plaza, Albany, Wednesday 7/12, 5 PM
 

New Movies: Paris Can Wait, Spider-Man: Homecoming, The Big Sick

Jonny Sun drawing jomny sun
Chris Buck / New York Times


  Jonathan Sun is an architect, designer, engineer, playwright and comedy writer, an artist, illustrator and a doctoral student at MIT and a Berkman Klein Fellow at Harvard -- and the creator of the Twitter persona jomny sun.

 

 

His work across these multiple disciplines is concerned with narratives of human experience. The new book, Everyone's a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too - published by Harper Perennial and available tomorrow - distributes aspects of his personality and observations from his life and education between jomny (an alien visiting Earth) and the creatures jomny encounters while here.

As a small example, in the book jomny has a conversation with a hedgehog who explains the difference between an introvert and an extrovert thusly: “introverts enjoy peopel-watching. extroverts enjoy peopel watching.” [sic]

 

In a blurb on the book jacket, Joss Whedon says of Everyone's a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too: “This book is funny and sad, simple and complex, badly spelled and beautifully written.”

 

We spoke with Jonny Sun about the book, Twitter, his research, and @tinycarebot.

Shawn Stone joins us to talk about what he's seen lately and what cultural events are coming up this week in our region.

Seen: My Cousin Rachel, Wonder Woman, Citizen Jane: Battle for the City

Upcoming events:

In a career spanning more than thirty years, David Letterman redefined the modern talk show with an ironic comic style that transcended traditional television. While he remains one of the most famous stars in America, he is a remote, even reclusive, figure whose career is often widely misunderstood.

In his new book – Letterman: The Last Giant of Late Night - Jason Zinoman, the first comedy critic in the history of the New York Times, mixes reporting with unprecedented access and critical analysis to explain the unique entertainer’s titanic legacy.

Moving from his early days in Indiana to his retirement, Zinoman goes behind the scenes of Letterman’s television career to illuminate the origins of his revolutionary comedy, its overlooked influences, and how his work intersects with and reveals his famously eccentric personality.

Jason Zinoman writes the “On Comedy” column for the New York Times

Comedian Don Rickles has died at age 90 of kidney failure at his Los Angeles home.

For more than half a century, "Mr. Warmth" headlined casinos and nightclubs from Las Vegas to Atlantic City. N.J., and appeared often on late-night TV talk shows.

Rickles managed to shock his audiences without cutting social commentary or truly personal self-criticism. He operated under a code as old the Borscht Belt: Go far — ethnic jokes, sex jokes, ribbing Carson for his many marriages — but make sure everyone knows it's for fun.

To remember Don Rickles on The Roundtable this morning, we go into the audio vault (or a shoebox in Joe's basement) to play my interview from March 2001 when Don Rickles was promoting an upcoming appearance in Kingston, NY.

This election cycle was so absurd that celebrated political satirist, journalist, and die-hard Republican P. J. O’Rourke endorsed Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. 

In How the Hell Did This Happen?, P.J. brings his critical eye and inimitable voice to some seriously risky business.

Shawn Stone, Digital Editor of The Alt joins us to talk about what he's seen lately and what cultural events are coming up this week in our region.

Seen: Wilson

Upcoming:

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