from the Back of the Room

September 16, 2009, 3:34 pm
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Sorry, I shouldn’t yell, but you’re missing all the action over at my new digs!

This blog has moved to — and you’ve already missed out on my early review of the new Ricky Gervais film The Invention Of Lying, plus info on the NY Comedy Festival panels at the Paley Centre (they have Colbert Report and Jimmy Fallon writers this year!).

So vamoose, go, get outta here! You have catching up to do!

Announcement: Back of the Room has moved!
September 14, 2009, 7:30 am
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Edit your feeds n’ bookmarks, because Back of the Room has moved!

Visit for details.

2009 JFL Comedy Tour lineup/dates
September 9, 2009, 1:27 pm
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In a lot of Canadian cities, this is the biggest comedy event of the year. Just For Laughs rarely disappoints with their annual fall tour, putting headlining comics into a “gala” type setting in large theatres across the country. As has come to be the standard, the lineup is solid:

Sugar Sammy

Sugar Sammy

Sugar Sammy (host)
Pete Correale
Steve Patterson (Maritimes only)
Danny Bhoy (Maritimes only)
Tommy Tiernan (Ontario & west only)

Pretty great when you consider, for instance, under what other circumstances Godfrey would ever play Saskatoon.

I saw Tiernan on the Tour a few years ago, and wished for a longer set from him (he did about 20-25 minutes, if I recall correctly). It sounds like that wish will come true, as all dates from Hamilton onward feature just 4 names on the bill. Giving him 40+ minutes would be the best decision the JFL folks could make. The man can certainly sprint, but he’s a hundred times better in a marathon.

Tickets (except Toronto) are under $50, available from Ticketmaster. Presales are on now (sorry, I don’t have the password!).

The dates:

St. John’s, NL
Arts & Culture Centre

Glace Bay, NS
Savoy Theatre

Moncton, NB
Capitol Theatre

Charlottetown, PEI
Confederation Centre for the Arts

Halifax, NS
Rebecca Cohn Auditorium – Dalhousie Arts Centre

Saint John, NB
Imperial Theatre

Hamilton, ON
Hamilton Place

Toronto, ON
Massey Hall

Ottawa, ON
National Arts Centre

London, ON
Centennial Hall

Winnipeg, MB
Centennial Concert Hall

Regina, SK
Conexus Arts Centre

Saskatoon, SK
TCU Place

Calgary, AB
Stampede Corral

Edmonton, AB
Winspear Centre

Red Deer, AB
Memorial Centre

Surrey, BC
Bell Performing Arts Centre

Victoria, BC
McPherson Theatre

Vancouver, BC
The Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts

Kelowna, BC
Kelowna Community Theatre

New Yorker Festival turns serious-ish
September 8, 2009, 11:41 am
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The New Yorker Festival is culture for cool people (according to those of us who think our new Banana Republic v-neck sweater is “cool”). In the past, it has served up some mouth-watering comedy content. I was prepared to cringe while looking over the newly released schedule – via an email to their “exclusive” mailing list full of people who are just going to turn around and blog it) since I’m unable to attend this year.

How will the New Yorker Festival top itself from last year’s offering of the amazing Political Humor panel with Jim Downey, Allison Silverman, and Todd Hanson (which I wrote about here on The Apiary, and Stephen Colbert interviewed by Ariel Levy (which I wrote about here on this very blog)? The short answer, at least in comedy-nerd terms, is that it isn’t.

While I’d kill to see Rachael Maddow interviewed by Levy this year, and would jump at the chance to see a couple of Wainrights Wainwrights (Rufus and Loudon III), most of the purely comedic discussions are likely to be lost within talks about film and acting.

Of note:

-Tyler Perry interviewed by Henry Finder

-Character Actors
With Christine Baranski, Joan Cusack, Luis Guzmán, Richard Kind, and John Turturro.
Moderated by Nancy Franklin.

-Jason Schwartzman talks with Richard Brody

-Shouts & Murmurs Live
With Jenny Allen, Woody Allen, Noah Baumbach, Yoni Brenner, Ian Frazier,
Patricia Marx, David Owen, Amy Ozols, Simon Rich, Paul Rudnick, George Saunders, Paul Simms, and Calvin Trillin. Hosted by David Remnick.

If you live in New York, by all means jump at these and the Festival’s other offerings. Everything the New Yorker puts on is top-notch. But as someone who is forced to miss it, for my particular tastes, there is thankfully no dagger currently piercing my heart.

More info will be posted on The schedule gets “released” (ha) September 14, and tickets go on sale September 18. I can’t help with tickets, but my wicked copy & paste skills have taken care of the former, after the jump.

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The Invention of Photoshop?
September 4, 2009, 4:50 pm
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My first reaction upon seeing the below poster artwork for the Invention of Lying was confusion. Isn’t it a little too soon for this film to have a p0rn version, with a cast that looks only vaguely like the original stars?

But no, I quickly realized that that is Ricky Gervais & co., having been airbrushed quite liberally. Because, y’know, nobody would want to go see the REAL Ricky Gervais in a movie. They’d much rather go see the Madame Tussaud wax figurine version of Ricky —much more believable as a leading man, as many a faux-confused journalist would’ve told you a year ago when Ghost Town came out.

This fact didn’t escape Gervais himself, who blogged yesterday:

I look like some sort of facelifted old queen. And fucking Louis… Jesus. Imagine what he looked like before. Fat ginger div kid. It’s a good job we’re comedians. We’re meant to look shit I suppose.


Purely for curiosity sake, I would’ve liked to see Jonah Hill on that poster, just to see what he would have turned out like. Or maybe that IS him in the upper left.

Design disaster aside, I’m thrilled to be seeing the World Premiere (capitalized out for pomposity sake, rather than CP style) of The Invention of Lying in a mere 10 days at the Toronto International Film Festival. I will certainly report back on the film itself, and any activities at the screening by our aforementioned Photoshopped friends.

An Intimate Evening w/ Jason Mewes
September 4, 2009, 9:12 am
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Jason Mewes (he’d be the “Jay” in Jay & Silent Bob) passed through Toronto last night for An Intimate Evening with Jason Mewes at the Bloor Cinema. It was a smaller than expected crowd – likely not more than 250 – and Toronto, you missed a good time.

He had no prepared material, doing straight q&a for 90 minutes, with a quick break to watch trailers for his upcoming films Shoot the Hero and Repo. But the questions posed by the mix of comic book geeks and stoners provided more than enough of a springboard for Mewes to pontificate on everything from marriage (he hates being away from his wife), to Kevin Smith, (“I’m always going to be in that fat fuck’s shadow, no matter what I do!”), to his rock bottom drug abuse (pot, crack, and snorting up to 8x80mgs of Oxycontin a day).

But the man who slept with Kimberly Stewart and Nicole Richie, proudly recounted laying his balls in his sleeping friend’s eye sockets, and had no trouble answering the question of which superhero he’d rather of sex with (Superman over Batman, definitely) proved to be a supremely classy guy, hanging out and doing the photo/autograph thing with anyone who wanted it (which was pretty much everyone).

Mewes heads to Edmonton this weekend to host the Sonic Boom Festival, and also hinted that he may have reason to visit Canada again soon for periods of 2-3 months. Mysterious!

Toronto, start your comedy engines
September 1, 2009, 2:04 pm
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As a Torontonian, my only complaint about what’s being offered up to me comedy-wise in the coming month is how to schedule in minor annoyances like keeping up with laundry, doing dishes, and sleep.

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), while not being heavy on the comedy fare, does allow us a few delicious morsels by way of the world premiere of the Ricky Gervais film The Invention of Lying on September 14 (he’ll be present for it), as well as An Afternoon With Chris Rock that same day.

The schedule for the Toronto Improv Festival is now live, so that takes care of my life from Sept 17-27.

And those who couldn’t score great tickets for Louis CK in October? He’s just added a third show, September 24 (which is more of a first show, as he correctly points out on his blog). For the record: Louis has sold about 3,000 seats so far for his Toronto shows so far, and will hit 4,500 if (when) this last one sells out. 9 months ago, he did 4 shows here, selling a total of 1,600 tickets. So yeah, things are going quite nicely for him.

Within driving distance of the city you’ve got your Joan Rivers and your Russell Peters.

And there’s all the regular happenings at Comedy Bar (I highly recommend Sunday Night Live), Absolute, Yuk’s, and the brand new Second City mainstage show Shut Up And Show Us Your Tweets (I would pay to sit in on the show-naming brainstorming sessions).

I can’t even begin to think about October, with David Cross, the JFL Comedy Tour, and a ton more.

I’m exhausted just thinking about it all. Happy, but exhaused.