Laugh Track: Dec. 10, 2010
Comedy has gotten much more democratic over the years: It’s no longer limited to guys in clubs or major-network TV shows. With a bit of free time and minimal iMovie know-how, everyone from budding young comics to name-brand stars can carve out some Internet space for their sense of humor. At the same time, traditional outlets like comedy CDs and DVDs are growing in breadth with the art form itself. It’s a great time to be a comedy fan, and Laugh Track, The A.V. Club’s weekly comedy blog, will round it all up—new and noteworthy stand-up, sketch, and online video, much of it courtesy of under-the-radar comedians with a little too much time on their hands.
Internet: Chris Gethard’s cross-country show
Chris Gethard, a comedian and star of the now-shuttered Big Lake, hosts a monthly show at UCB New York where anything can happen. He once took the entire audience on a bus trip to New Jersey to show them the basement where he lost his virginity; another time he flew a kid from Ohio out to the show during which he and his co-hosts spent the show cheering him up. He also engages in an ongoing feud with Will Hines, and each side tapes the results. As Gethard puts it, he wants each segment of the show to either be amazing or fail spectacularly, so either way the audience is entertained.
Now he’s gearing up for his biggest stunt yet. The plan is this: Gethard and his bevy of co-hosts will do a show at UCB in January. When that show ends, they’ll pile into an RV, thus beginning a 12-day-long road trip. There’s no plan other than to find cool stuff to do and do it. They’ll wind up at UCB LA, where they’ll exit the RV and go right into continuing the show they started in NY. Gethard is currently soliciting donations to fund the road trip, promising that all money raised will be spent in that 12-day span to make it even more awesome for the show and the strangers he’ll encounter.
Given Gethard’s track record, there’s no reason to think a single minute of that unstructured time will go to waste. At this year’s Halloween show, for example, Gethard sent two co-hosts out to New Jersey to explore the site of a ghost story; even though they were scared shitless, they not only examined the bridge the ghost supposedly haunts, but returned multiple times to test the myth even further. The show’s gung-ho attitude means the already ambitious stunts border on performance art, and whether the team is hitting up some random IHOP or taking a campus tour, the trip should be just as fascinating.
More details can be found in Gethard’s update video, and the trip will be tracked on Splitsider.
Podcasts: Earwolf expands to once a day
Earwolf, the production muscle behind Comedy Death Ray and the Sklar Brothers’ Sklarbro Country podcasts, is living up to its promise of expansion. After debuting Cyber Thug Radio two weeks ago, the site added Who Charted? and Glitter In The Garbage earlier this week, meaning there’ll be a new podcast available every weekday from here on out. Who Charted? is hosted by Howard Kremer (the comedian and rapper behind that Havin’ A Summah video from last week) and features talk about the week in pop culture, including games where guests try to make sense out of ratings charts. Drew Droege’s Glitter In The Garbage is more salon-like, wherein Droege—recognize the voice?—and guests lovingly poke fun at trashy culture. The network’s expansion can only mean increased exposure for all podcasters involved. In addition, Earwolf will produce occasional off-schedule podcasts, starting with the promising Paul Scheer project How Did THIS Get Made? next week. Scheer will be in his wheelhouse, discussing the merits of terrible films. Also, any opportunity/excuse to post this awesome Human Giant sketch is worth taking:
TV: Beth Melewski pre-Chicago Cash Cab
Word is out that Second City alumni Beth Melewski is going to be the host of Chicago’s Cash Cab outpost. It’s sad news for the excellent The Absolute Best Friggin’ Time Of Your Life, the currently running Second City e.t.c. revue from which Melewski had to depart, but great news for the stalwart of Chicago’s improv scene. Watch her spin humor even from a seemingly depressing set-up in the video below, posted earlier this year and co-starring fellow SC alum Andy St. Clair: