comedy

Steven Wright
Jorge Rios

In his characteristically deadpan fashion, Steven Wright has been making people laugh for more than four decades.  Over the course of his career, Wright has won an Oscar and been nominated for Grammy and Emmy Awards while working regularly in movies and on TV.

In the pages of his new book, "Medallion Status," John Hodgman explores the strangeness of his career, speaking plainly of fame, especially at the weird, marginal level he enjoyed it. He says he was a “famous minor television personality.” His essays offer a thoughtful examination of status, fame and identity.

  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:"Bombshell"

Upcoming:
"The Simon & Garfunkel Story" - Proctors, Mainstage, Schenectady, Friday 1/10, 7:30 PM

Tommy Davidson - Funny Bone Comedy Club, Crossgates Mall, Guilderland, Friday-Saturday 1/10-11, various times

Miro Quartet (music of Mozart, Gliere, Frank, Servais, Schubert) - Friends of Chamber Music, Emma Willard School, Troy, Saturday 1/11, 7:30 PM

Elvis Birthday Bash with Johnny Raab & The Tichy Boys - Hangar On the Hudson, Troy, Saturday 1/11, 8 PM

Albany Symphony’s Clara Schumann Festival:
“Clara, Dear Clara…” Brunch and Song, Arts Center of the Capital Region, Troy, Saturday 1/11, 11 AM
Clara Schumann Chamber Music Recital, Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy, Saturday 1/11, 3 PM
Albany Symphony with pianist Harmony Zhu, Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy, Saturday 1/11, 7:30 PM
Clara Schumann Chamber Music Recital, Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy, Sunday 1/12, 11 AM
Albany Symphony with pianist Harmony Zhu, Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy, Sunday 1/12, 3 PM

2020: We Hear Freedom Calling (presented by the Four Freedoms Coalition) - Colonial Theatre, Pittsfield, Mass., Sunday 1/12, 2 PM (City Hall march at 1:30 PM)
"Flash Gordon" - Palace Theatre, Albany, Monday 1/13, 7 PM
Carla Fisk, soprano - Music at Noon Concerts, Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy, Tuesday 1/14, noon

New movies: "1917," "Just Mercy," "Like a Boss," "Underwater"

Jeff Abraham is a public relations executive who's regarded as one of Hollywood's top comedy historians and go-to pop culture experts. He joins us to talk about his book "The Show Won't Go On: The Most Shocking, Bizarre, and Historic Deaths of Performers Onstage."

The book is co-authored by award-winning television and film producer, director, writer, and journalist Burt Kearns.

    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:"Little Women"

Upcoming:

  • T.J. Miller - Funny Bone Comedy Club, Crossgates Mall, Guilderland, Friday & Saturday 1/3-4, various times
  • New York Cat Film Festival - GE Theatre at Proctors, Schenectady, Saturday 1/4, 1 PM
  • Twelfth Night Celebration - Crailo State Historic Site, Rensselaer, Saturday 1/4, 4 PM -- AND -- Salutations of the Season! - Schuyler Mansion Historic Site, Albany, Saturday 1/4, 4-7:30 PM
  • Patty Larkin, w/s/g The Parkington Sisters - Iron Horse Music Hall, Northampton, Mass., Saturday 1/4, 7 PM
  • Livingston Taylor, w/s/g/ Susan Werner - Academy of Music, Northampton, Mass., Saturday 1/4, 8 PM
  • Graham Tichy All Stars: Abbey Road +50 Show - Van Dyck Lounge, Schenectady, Saturday 1/4, 8 PM
  • Scott Sharrard - Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs, Sunday 1/5, 7 PM
  • A Sunday Fire - The Hollow Bar + Kitchen, Albany, Tuesday 1/7, 9 PM

New movies: "The Grudge"

As a writer on "Late Night with David Letterman," Steve Young’s duties included scouring through record bins in search of potential subjects for the show’s “Dave’s Record Collection” segments. Little did he know, his hunt for offbeat vinyl would thrust him into the world of Broadway-style “industrial musicals” put on by such companies as General Electric, McDonald’s, Ford, and Xerox at their annual sales meetings in the ’50s through the ‘80s.

These productions dazzled and motivated their only intended audience, each company’s sales-force, which was regaled with lavish productions such as "Lipton on the Move," "Lucite, You and ’72," and "The Bathrooms Are Coming."

The documentary, "Bathtubs Over Broadway," follows Young’s odyssey as he tracks down these shows’ souvenir albums, finds kindred fanatics, interviews the performers, songwriters and directors, and discovers rare performance footage of songs such as “My Bathroom” and “Everything’s Coming Up Citgo.” Bathtubs over Broadway is now streaming on Netflix. The film is directed by Dava Wisenant.

It’s a surprise to many people, himself included, that Artie Lange is anywhere nowadays, let alone doing standup.  But Lange has proven to be the ultimate survivor. After battling addiction for 30 years, attempting suicide, and endless stints in rehab, Lange says he has been sober for almost a year.

Comedian and actor Colin Quinn will bring his "The Wrong Side of History" stand-up tour to The Egg in Albany, New York on Saturday, December 21.

Quinn's most recent one-man-show "Red State, Blue State" ran at The Minetta Lane Theatre in New York City earlier this year and then premiered on CNN as the network's first comedy special in May. It is now streaming on Netflix.

"Red State Blue State" followed a successful off-Broadway run of "Colin Quinn: The New York Story," directed by Jerry Seinfeld, and "Colin Quinn: Long Story Short," for which he earned a Drama Desk Award nomination. As an actor, Quinn appeared on HBO's "Girls" and "Crashing" and in the film "Trainwreck." He was the host of SNL's Weekend Update for the last few years of the 20th Century.

  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: "Frozen 2," "Ford v Ferrari"

Upcoming:

  • Madison Theater Re-opening Block Party with Skeeter Creek - Madison Theater, Albany, Thursday 12/19, 4 PM (films start running at 6 PM)
  • Michaela Anne - Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs, Thursday 12/19, 7 PM
  • Trans-Siberian Orchestra - Times Union Center, Albany, Thursday 12/19, 7:30 PM
  • The Silos, Coal Palace Kings - Hangar On the Hudson, Troy, Thursday 12/19, 8 PM
  • "It’s a Wonderful Life" - Palace Theatre, Albany, Friday 12/20, 7 PM; Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, Mass., Friday 12/20, 7 PM; Capitol Theatre, Rome, Friday 12/20, 7 PM; Saturday 12/21, 2:30 & 7 PM
  • Sing Solstice! Kim & Reggie Harris and Magpie - The Eighth Step at Proctors, The Addy, Schenectady, Saturday 12/21, 7:30 PM
  • Colin Quinn: Wrong Side of History - The Egg, Albany, Saturday 12/21, 8 PM
  • The Sweetback Sisters’ Country Christmas Sing-Along - Academy of Music, Northampton, Mass., Sunday 12/22, 3 and 7 PM

New movies: "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker," "Bombshell," "Little Women," "Spies in Disguise"

McQueen
Eric Korenman

Berkshire native McQueen is a producer and musician sometimes referred to as a multi-media comedian, a funny DJ, and electro-comic, or a comedy/music mixmaster. He stacks original beats and melodies and situationally surreal lyrics with pop-culture references galore.

He's toured with Radiohead, performed at Edinburgh Festival Fringe, worked for Comedy Central and Funny or Die. His first album “Black Cat” (ASpecialThing Records) was released on October 25.

Book cover for "Nice Try," photo of Josh Gondelman, album cover for "Dancing on a Weeknight"
Center photo by Mindy Tucker

High Mud Comedy Festival Presents Josh Gondelman in a night of stand-up comedy at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts tomorrow night at 8 p.m.

Josh Gondelman is a stand-up and writer who has earned two Peabody Awards, three Emmys, and two WGA Awards for his work on HBO’s “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.” He is currently a writer/producer for “Desus & Mero” on Showtime - which was just renewed for a second season. 

He has a reputation for being a true mensch and among the nicest guys in comedy and his new book “Nice Try” is available from Harper Perennial and his most recent stand-up album “Dancing on a Weeknight” was released in April of this year.

 

He joined us to talk about stand-up, working for and with great people, Twitter pep-talks, and #agoodgame.

Craig Ferguson’s "Hobo Fabulous" is six half hour episodes which are an amalgam of stand up special and rock tour documentary filmed during his recent 50-date tour of the USA and Canada.

Craig Ferguson is an actor, writer and comedian, who as the host of CBS' "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" set all-time viewer records during his ten-year run as host, which earned him a Primetime Emmy nomination and the 2009 Peabody Award for Excellence in Broadcasting for his interview with Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Ferguson was also the host of the syndicated game show, "Celebrity Name Game," in which he was awarded the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Game Show Host two years in a row. Ferguson is also an acclaimed standup comedian.

"Hobo Fabulous" is available on Comedy Dynamics.

On October 10, “Linda Vista,” a new play by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner Tracy Letts, directed by Dexter Bullard, opens at Second Stage’s Helen Hayes Theater in New York City.

In the play, Wheeler is a 50-year-old divorcee in a mid-life spiral. Just out of his ex-wife’s garage and into a place of his own, Wheeler starts on a path toward self-discovery. Full of opinions and short on self-examination, Wheeler navigates blind dates, old friends, and new love while reconciling the man he has become with the man he wants to be.

“Linda Vista” premiered at Steppenwolf in Chicago. It went on to have its Los Angeles premiere at Center Theatre Group in the Mark Taper Forum in February 2019 - and now it’s on Broadway.

For each of the productions, Letts’ fellow Steppenwolf ensemble member Ian Barford has played Wheeler. Barford also originated the role of Little Charles in Letts's “August: Osage County,” Ray in “Mary Page Marlowe,” and Mr. Carp “The Minutes.” Other Broadway credits include “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime” and “The Rise and Fall of Little Voice.”

The Bardavon Opera House in Poughkeepsie, New York and UPAC in Kingston, New York have a very exciting slate of events this autumn.

This coming Sunday, seven-time Grammy Award winner Gladys Knight and her band will perform at The Bardavon’s 150th Anniversary Gala.

Other events this season include: The Mystical Arts of Tibet: “Sacred Music Sacred Dance;” the stage musical “Once;” stand-up comedy from Jay Leno; David Bromberg Big Band with Los Lobos; Dino Light; a play starring John Malkovich; former White House photographer Pete Souza – and so much more.

Bardavon Presents Executive Director Chris Silva joins us.

Hari Kondabolu
Rob Holysz

Since the last time Hari Kondabolu was on our show, a lot has happened in America — in politics, race relations, and comedy. Those are all topics he likes to discuss on stage, TV and on his comedy albums. On October 10th, Kondabolu will be back in our region at the Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton.

      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: "Downton Abbey"

Upcoming:

  • "Moby Dick," performed by Conor Lovett - Hudson Hall, Hudson, Friday 10/4 at 7 PM; Saturday 10/5 at 7 PM; Sunday 10/6 at 5 PM
  • Paula Poundstone - Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy, Friday 10/4, 8 PM
  • Artie Lange - Cohoes Music Hall, Cohoes, Friday 10/4, 8 PM
  • James Franco’s "The Pretenders" - Palace Theatre, Albany, Saturday 10/5, 7 PM
  • GWAR "Use Your Collusion" Tour - Upstate Concert Hall, Clifton Park, Saturday 10/5, 7:30 PM
  • Kurt Elling - Academy of Music, Northampton, Mass., Saturday 10/5, 7:30 PM - The Egg, Albany, Sunday 10/6, 7:30 PM
  • Laura Love - The Eighth Step at Proctors, Schenectady, Saturday 10/5, 7:30 PM - Iron Horse Music Hall, Northampton, Mass., Sunday 10/6, 7 PM
  • Kimbra, Emily Wells - MASS MoCA, Hunter Center, North Adams, Mass., Saturday 10/5, 8 PM
  • Sergei Babayan & Daniil Trifonov, duo piano - Troy Chromatics Concerts, Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy, Sunday 10/6, 3 PM

New movies: "Joker," "Britt-Marie Was Here"

Paula Poundstone
Paula Poundstone

We’re going to catch up now with a frequent voice on WAMC — on “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” and as a regular guest on this show: Paula Poundstone. Now in her fourth decade of doing standup, the comedian, author and podcast host will be returning to our region for several gigs in the next couple weeks.

Lisa Lampanelli
Lisa Lampanelli

Our region is about to see a different side of longtime comedian Lisa Lampanelli, who said she was stepping away from standup last year and is now working as an advice podcaster, life coach and storyteller. It’s a new era for the woman known as The Queen of Mean over three decades in standup. “Fat Chance: An Evening of Conversation and Story” comes to the Charles R. Wood Theater in Glens Falls September 21 and the Cohoes Music Hall September 28.

Steve Martin and Martin Short
courtesy of the artists

Steve Martin and Martin Short bring their new tour "Now You See Them, Soon You Won't" to the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, New York on Friday, September 13. The comedy-variety show also features Grammy Award winning bluegrass band The Steep Canyon Rangers, and Jeff Babko.

As two titans of comedy, Steve Martin and Martin Short have conquered film, television, and the stage in the course of their long, dazzling careers. But the live shows that grew out of both their friendship and their undeniable comedic chemistry create something special enough to stand out even among the many achievements of these two show-biz veterans.

    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: "Maiden"

Upcoming:

  • George A. Romero’s "Season of the Witch" - GE Theatre at Proctors, Schenectady, Thursday 9/5, 7 PM
  • In-faux-structure - Exhibit opening reception & Beer Garden with Joe Barna’s Sketches of Influence, Stacy Dillard - Opalka Gallery, Sage College of Albany, Albany, Friday 9/6, 6-9 PM; show runs through Oct. 19
  • "The Heiress" - Albany Civic Theater, Albany, opens Friday 9/6 at 7:30 PM, runs Fri-Sun through Sept. 22
  • Neil Simon’s "Broadway Bound" - Curtain Call Theatre, Latham, opens Friday 9/6 at 8 PM, runs Thu-Sun through Sept. 28
  • Cardi B - SPAC, Saratoga Spa State Park, Saratoga Springs, Friday 9/6, 7:30 PM
  • The National Reserve - The Hangar On the Hudson, Troy, Friday 9/6, 8 PM
  • A Bread Factory Part 1: For the Sake of Gold; A Bread Factory Part 2: Walk With Me a While Time + Space Limited, Hudson, Saturday 9/7, 2 PM, 4:15 PM (repeated Sept. 14)
  • Banda Magda - SPAC, Saratoga Spa State Park, Saratoga Springs, Monday 9/9, 8 PM
  • Jazz On the Plaza featuring Fleur Seule - Empire State Plaza, Albany, Wednesday 9/11, 5:30-7:30 PM
  • The Growlers, w/s/g Pinky Pinky - Pearl Street Nightclub, Northampton, Mass., Wednesday 9/11, 8 PM

New movies: "It: Chapter 2"

You may know him as Mango, Mr. Peepers, the gibberish-spouting Suel Forrester, or one half of the head-bopping brothers in "A Night at the Roxbury." Not long after Chris was labeled one of the improv group Groundlings’ “must-see” performers in the company, he was cast on SNL and within the first six weeks, Chris’s film career also took off.

In his memoir "Baby Don't Hurt Me: Stories and Scars from Saturday Night Live," Kattan opens up about eight seasons on SNL, performing alongside friends and future legends including Will Ferrell, Jimmy Fallon, and Tina Fey, and guest hosts from Charlize Theron to Tom Hanks to David Bowie.

Aries Spears
Aries Spears

Later this week, comedian Aries Spears will be in Albany for two performances at the Funny Bone — Friday at 7:30 and 10. Aries Spears has been a veteran of comedy clubs, television and movies for decades, including his run on “Mad TV” and a lot of voice work. And you can catch his conversations about 80s movies, the Rocky series and the American cities he visits on his long-running podcast “Spears and Steinberg.”

The National Comedy Center in Jamestown, New York celebrates the centennial year of legendary comedy innovator Ernie Kovacs with the acquisition and display of never-before-seen material and rare artifacts courtesy of the comedian’s estate.

Estate executive Josh Mills joins us to talk about the exhibition and a special centennial re-issue of "The Ernie Kovacs Album" (Omnivore Recordings).

“I Loved Lucy” is an autobiographical play by Lee Tannen about his friendship with entertainment icon Lucille Ball during the final years of the comedy legend’s life.

After receiving a warm reception in London, the play will have its New York premiere performances in the Hudson Valley this month presented by Gary DiMauro at Helsinki Hudson in Hudson, New York on August 24, and at The Woodstock Playhouse in Woodstock, New York on August 31.

In this production, Lee Tannen will play himself opposite Sandra Dickinson as Lucy.

Accomplished stage and screen actor, Sandra Dickinson is best known for her work in Birds Eye Beefburger TV advertisements directed by Alan Parker in the early 1970s, and as Trillian in the 1981 television adaptation of “The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.” She’s often works as a voice-actor for animated series.

  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: Sword of Trust

Upcoming:

  • Tom Segura - Palace Theatre, Albany, Thursday 8/8, 7 PM
  • Tracy Bonham - Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs, Friday 8/9, 8 PM
  • Harry Connick Jr. - The Egg, Albany, Thursday 8/8 & Friday 8/9, 8 PM
  • Capitolfest - featured: films starring Frances Dee & Joel McCrea; silent film accompaniment by Ben Model - Capitol Theatre, Rome, Friday 8/9 through Sunday 8/11
  • "A More Perfect Union: New Works by Scout" - Thompson Giroux Gallery, Chatham, opening reception Saturday 8/10, 4-6 PM, exhibit through 9/22
  • Laurie Anderson Presents: Lou Reed Drones with Stewart Hurwood - MASS MoCA, Hunter Center, North Adams, Mass., Saturday 8/10, 8 PM
  • Steve Gorn & Friends: Indian Ragas/Tribute to Ravi Shankar - Maverick Concerts, Maverick Concert Hall, Woodstock, Saturday 8/10, 8 PM
  • Hudson Jazz Works Concert with Armen Donelian, Marc Mommaas, Billy Drewes - Hudson Hall, Hudson, Sunday 8/11, 4 PM
  • Savion Glover with OUT’KNiGHTz - Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, Mass., Sunday 8/11, 7 PM
  • Beck, Cage the Elephant - SPAC Amphitheater, Saratoga Spa State Park, Saratoga Springs, Monday 8/12, 6 PM

New movies: "Maiden," "Them That Follow," "The Art of Racing in the Rain," "Dora and the Lost City of Gold," "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark," "Brian Banks"

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: "Crawl"

Upcoming:

  • The Quebe Sisters - Iron Horse Music Hall, Northampton, Mass., Thursday 7/25, 7 PM
  • Brad Paisley World Tour, with Chris Lane, Riley Green - SPAC, Saratoga Spa State Park, Saratoga Springs, Thursday 7/25, 7:30 PM
  • Patton Oswalt - Palace Theatre, Albany, Thursday 7/25, 8 PM
  • Our Native Daughters: Rhiannon Giddens, Allison Russell, Leyla McCalla, Amythyst Kiah - The Egg, Albany, Friday 7/26, 8 PM
  • The Pretenders - MASS MoCA, Courtyard D, North Adams, Mass., Friday 7/26, 8 PM
  • A Midsummer SLAY with Queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race - Palace Theatre, Albany, Friday 7/26, 8 PM
  • Juho Pohjonen, pianist (music of Rameau, Scriabin, Beethoven) - Tannery Pond Concerts, Mount Lebanon Shaker Village, New Lebanon, Saturday 7/27, 8 PM
  • Clem Snide (Eef Barzelay) - Opalka Gallery, Sage College of Albany, Albany, Monday 7/29, 8 PM
  • Pedrito Martinez, Sten & Maria Z - Rockin on the River, Riverfront Park, Troy, Wednesday 7/31, 5 PM
  • The Philadelphia Orchestra opening night with dancers of Philadanco: Festive Fireworks - (music of Rimsky-Korsakov, Sibelius/Ravel, Tchaikovsky) - SPAC, Saratoga Spa State Park, Saratoga Springs, Wednesday 7/31, 7 PM

New movies: "Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood," "Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love"

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 – in Lenox, Massachusetts.

The musical satirists call The Cranwell Spa and Golf Resort their summer home – performing here every night except Tuesday through August 30th.

The CapSteps latest album is “The Lyin’ Kings.” We are joined this morning by longtime steppers, Brad van Grack and Nancy Dolliver.

The inaugural Phoenicia Fringe Festival starts July 5th and will feature a number of solo performances, including storytelling, one-person shows and experiential events with a focus on comedy. Each night features two different solo acts, each about an hour long. Each show is only performed once during the festival, so audiences will never see the same thing twice.

We have a trio of guests to tell us what is happening: Artistic Director of The Phoenicia Playhouse Michael Koegel, and performers Dean Temple, and Doug Motel.

American Public Media’s “Live From Here,” with host Chris Thile, will broadcast live from Tanglewood’s Koussevitzky Music Shed in Lenox, Massachusetts this week. For the show, Thile will be joined by special guests musician Ben Folds, comedian Tig Notaro, and Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz, and Aoife O’Donovan - a.k.a I’m with Her.

In addition to hosting “Live from Here,” Thile is a virtuoso mandolin player and vocalist performing solo and with Nickel Creek and Punch Brothers. He is a multiple Grammy Award winner, a MacArthur Fellow, and held the 2018–2019 Richard and Barbara Debs Composer's Chair at Carnegie Hall.

Mahaiwe marquee
mahaiwe.org

This summer, The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington, MA will present world class music, dance, theatre, film screenings, and comedy with performances from Momix, Buddy Guy, Patti LuPone, Berkshire Playwrights Lab, David Sedaris, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Natalie Merchant, Savion Glover, John Mulaney, and more!

Beryl Jolly is the Executive Director of The Mahaiwe and she joins us.

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