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Kindler Riffs on Comedy's Current State

MONTREAL -- Dane Cook, Carlos Mencia and the CW network were among the people and subjects that comic Andy Kindler riffed on here Friday during his much-anticipated annual "State of the (Comedy) Industry" address at the Just for Laughs comedy festival.

In his 11th year, Kindler once again spoke to a crowded room full of fellow comedians and other industry insiders at the Delta Hotel here.

In his address, which lasted slightly more than an hour and earned constant laughs and cheers, Kindler lauded TV titan Aaron Spelling for attracting only nice comments from his peers after his recent death. "He now has only three (TV) shows in development," Kindler went on to joke about Spelling's prolific work.

The comic spent several minutes expressing his wonder at Cook's recent fast rise to super-stardom, joking that in today's age, comics with a lot of enthusiasm seem to sell better than ones who get headaches from painfully crafting punchlines.

"I woke up one day, and Dane Cook is the most popular comic," Kindler quipped, suggesting his surprise was likely similar to that of at least some people in Germany when the Nazis suddenly were in power. "But it is worse than Hitler, because Hitler at least had a point of view," he quipped.

Kindler also joked that the fine line between edgy comedy and edginess is a gimmick, suggesting Mencia and other colleagues sometimes cross that line.

While he acknowledged that amid a lack of sitcoms in recent years, it was more difficult for him to make fun of TV shows, Kindler did riff on some TV fare, including Heather Graham's short-lived series "Emily's Reasons Why Not." "The show got cancelled after the first commercial," he said to big laughs.

Kindler also wondered out loud if the merger of the WB and UPN networks led to a longer debate about what shows to use on the merged CW or a longer debate on whether to call the channel WC instead.

The comic also hit members of minorities who perform on reality TV shows with a punchline, arguing they sometimes pretend they are achieving something truly outstanding. "Rosa Parks won the first reality show, 'Who wants to sit in the first row of the bus'," Kindler said.

Not missing from the address were such regular subjects of his state of the industry jokes, such as Jay Leno, Dennis Miller and Kindler himself. Among other things, he told the audience he had indeed brought his B game to Montreal and recently returned from a "Mixed Reaction" tour of Europe.


Jesse Hiestand writes for The Hollywood Reporter.

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