Comics Who Get My Vote
I do hope you're going to get out there on Election Day and cast your vote. You'll be helping to decide the fate of elected officials about whom comics (perhaps even you) will be writing material about for years to come. Remember, Dan Quayle was the cornerstone of many a comedy career. Seriously, no matter how late you have to do your set the night before, get involved Election Day and vote.
If you're near NYC, you can then reward yourself for an important job well done by celebrating Election Night 2000 at Carolines On Broadway. Even hard-core political junkies will be impressed with this evening's line-up. "Political Asylum: The Revolution Without" is being hosted by William Baldwin and features some of the country's top political satirists and policy wonks. Lizz Winstead, co-creator of Comedy Central's "The Daily Show"(and we never get enough chances to see this very funny as well as savvy comedienne on stage, because she's writing, producing and performing for the small screen), will bring together such pundits as A. Whitney Brown, Joy Behar (if you only know her from ABC's "The View," you owe it to yourself to catch her live on her first home—a comedy stage), Brian Unger, Lisa Bernbach, and Arianna Huffington. By the way, I've seen Ms. Huffington hold both her comedy and her political own with Al Franken live on stage. I've also found her consistently witty when featured on Comedy Central. I may not have the same politics as she, but I'm thankful she can keep things lively on CNN and the other cable news broadcasts, as well as "Politically Incorrect."
Carolines has a funny and star-studded line-up the rest of November as well. American Comedy Award winner George Wallace will bring his wise, but also rib tickling observations and stories to the stage Nov. 9-12. The outrageous and consistently hilarious Mario Cantone, who is hot off the heels of his starring role in Off-Broadway's "The Crumple Zone," arrives with his high-energy rants and wicked stories and impersonations Nov. 16-20. I had the pleasure of opening for Cantone many times at the old Duplex Saturday Variety Shows; watching his set was the first time I laughed so hard at a comic that it hurt. (Even the next day, my ribs were sore.) Now that's comedy that hurts so good.
If you enjoyed the film "The Original Kings Of Comedy," the recent King's tour, or UPN's "The Hughley's," D.L. Hughley will be making his Carolines debut Thanksgiving weekend Nov. 24-26, in an exclusive New York engagement. Rosie O'Donnell's ultimate warm-up guy, Joey Kola, will also be helping you to laugh off some of those holiday calories at Carolines, November 22, 23, 25, and 26. For more information about covers and times on these Carolines shows, you can call: (212) 757-4100.
My vote this month for a talented comedienne who is also looking out for her peers goes to Sue Costello. For the second year, Costello is offering women a three-hour seminar on "The Business Of Show" in NYC at the Gotham Comedy Club on Nov. 18, 1-4 pm. In a short time, Costello has earned the diverse experiences of getting development deals, her own TV show, headlining in clubs across the country, appearing in films (her latest will be Lawrence Fishburne's directorial debut), and some of the same initial business ups and downs many of you have had. She first offered this seminar, where she also features a woman President from the regular corporate business world, at last year's Marshalls Women's Comedy Festival.
Costello and I have, in the past, discussed the fact that, sometimes, when you get invited to sit on these panels, speakers are talking at, rather than to, the attendees. Too often something you hope will be empowering doesn't necessarily finish up that way, which is why Costello is offering this seminar herself, to encourage women to meet each other and produce their own projects. This year's corporate business panelist will be Carrie Rubin, owner and President of Elesse Sportswear Co. The afternoon will focus on the business aspects of being a performer, while Rubin will also talk about how the other half lives, and what plans and choices in the corporate business world are made to achieve a stable place with a defined position (something that can be harder to create in a performer's career, especially a woman's in comedy). You can call Gotham at (212) 367-9000 for more information.
Robert Klein, who just shot his seventh HBO special, is still going strong Wednesdays at 8:30 pm at Gotham. He's also the host for "New Joke City," which runs Wednesdays at 10 pm on the Metro Channel. Also shot at Gotham, the show features up and coming comics and, as Klein says, "It's what makes New York New York."
John Fugelsang, who was in New York doing a special one-night stand-up show to celebrate the Duplex' 50th anniversary (his old haunt), tells me that, even though he's now doing most of his stand-up in LA where he lives, we can see him in episodes of "Becker" and "The Michael Richards Show." Fugelsang also makes regular appearances on "Politically Incorrect." Also in the screen sightings department, I was pleased that Jim Gaffigan's show on CBS is also featuring Mary Birdsong. I remember her great work for Gotham City Improv, and she's also a great singer and voice-over performer.
As we go to press, I've also just heard from Shecky Beagleman (that Imogene Coca for the new Millennium) that she's just taped a role on "Welcome To New York." Also, congratulations to Jim David for his work at the Friars Roast for Rob Reiner. Jim tells me he got called two days before and had to write new material (he had just shot a Comedy Central special and couldn't repeat). So my question for you is, if you got called with a last minute important job offer, or were asked to do an audition for a project requiring a different, perhaps shorter or squeaky clean set, would you be able to have the material on hand or write it? Don't wait 'till you need it to ask yourself.