Friday, June 30, 2006

Movie Avalanche

Boy are you guys lucky today, because I have a Friday treat for you. All of the Superman movies that we shot for the June 24 episode of The Primetime Kalan are now up on YouTube, so you can finally judge who makes better Superman films-- us or Bryan Singer.

First up is the short written by me and starring me as Superman, with Elliot Kalan as "The Professor."

Here's the one Elliott wrote. It's got a funny script, but a word of warning: it was shot at the end of the day, when we'd stopped caring about things like... oh... "camerawork" and "lighting." So half of the shots are significantly darker than other shots, even though supposedly all the action is taking place in the same room at the same time. Please pretend that this is an intentional stylistic choice, and not evidence of certain Edward D. Wood Jr. tendencies on our part. Elliot plays Superman in this one. Oh, and look for me in the key role of "Baliff."

Here's one of the slickest-looking videos of the bunch, it's "The Battle of the Supermen" written by Erik Marcisak, who also stars as the Russian Superman. It also features Elliot's inimitable old-timey voiceover skills, as featured on The Daily Show's "The Decider" adventures.

And lastly (and probably the best-put-together of them all) here's the one written by Brock Mahan, "Superman Vs. Man and Superman." Brock stars as Superman, Elliot is George Bernard Shaw, and look for Devon T. Coleman in his one appearance as "Chauncy." Plus, I put in perhaps my finest performance, as Oscar Wilde. To research for this role, I got myself arrested for sodomy. The rest of the Kalan crew said that it really wasn't necessary, but I insisted.

Realism above all.

Well, that's the last of the Kalan videos, but here's a bonus. I discovered that another short, written by Erik and Joe Guercio (an old Kalanite, all around tech wizard, and good friend), is up on YouTube-- Frank Miller's Vatican City. I had nothing to do with the production of this one; I just think it's worth a look.

UPDATE: It has come to my attention that Elliott's Metro column this week is also all about Superman. Geez, Elliott, enough already!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Caine and Hoskins, Together Again, July 5

Because our Michael Caine and Bob Hoskins schtick so took the world (well, that portion of it that was in our audience) by storm back in January, my colleague Eric "Doomsday Guy" Zuckerman and I will be hosting yet another variety show in the guise of the world's favorite famous Cockneys. So come celebrate American independence, one day late, by spending the night with two Brits. It's:

A Very British 4th of July
presented by Manhattan Comedy Collective
Hosted by Michael Caine & Bob Hoskins
with sketch comedy by Freedumb, Uncle Sam's Satiric Spectacular, and The Summer Funtime Special
Wednesday, July 5th at 8:00pm
at Jimmy's No 43
43 E 7th St. (downstairs)
between 2nd/3rd Ave.
6 to Astor Place;R/W to 8th St., F/V to 2nd Avenue
$7.00 - No Drink Minimum
Advance Tickets available

Friday, June 23, 2006

The Heat Makes Me Logy

So you may have noticed a slight slow-down in postings here, other than the seemingly endless shilling for the Primetime Kalan (debuting tomorrow!). There are a couple of reasons for that:

1. Comedy slows down in the summer. It seems counterintuitive, but it's far easier to get people to come see your show when they have to wade through ankle-deep slush than when it's nice outside. As much as people may enjoy comedy shows (hint: it's not that much), in the summer they prefer to spend their time burning meat outdoors over an open flame or sitting in an air-conditioned theater watching anthropomorphic cars fall in love (and then... what? Fuck? Does the male's exhaust pipe fit snugly into the female's gas-hole? Do child cars pop out the trunk? Do I regret typing gas-hole? The answer, to the final question at least, is yes).

2. I'm not involved in so many ongoing shows. Many of the shows I used to do (like Sara Schaefer is Obsessed With You) have gone to their eternal rest. The stuff I'm doing now is either monthly, like the Primetime Kalan, or it's got a longer lead time, for production reasons, like Captains in Space. Other than that, I've just been doing guest stuff for friends who have been nice enough to ask-- like Andres' Giant Tuesday Night (which is on Summer break) or Sara's Video Gaga. (Speaking of which, Sara put her great music video ode to PowerPoint online. Go check it out.)

3. I'm intentionally taking it a little slower, because I'm working on writing a screenplay. It's my goal to have it done by the end of the year. Unfortunately, I had a significant setback recently-- I had gotten as far as having my synopsis and characters worked out, when I saw a trailer for this movie, due out in August. Grrr. My nascent screenplay had nearly the same premise... or at least close enough that anyone who read it would immediately think of this film. So it's back to square one. Oh well. As my friend Matt said, it's my own fault for naming my screenplay "Untitled Justin Long Project 2006."

Anyway, I apologize for the slow, and/ or repetitious content of late (even though, at the best of times, it's mainly just me shilling my shows). Things may pick up a bit in the fall, but in the meanwhile, take a break from pondering Cars' anatomy once in a while, and come see me live.

"I'm gonna do you tricycle-style."

* * *

UPDATE: Superfan #1, Liz, points out that the correct off-color pun would be "muffler." Kudos to you, Liz. If there was a Whither Laffs t-shirt, it would be in the mail.

New Kalan Show TOMORROW!

"Dan," you say, "You can't possibly promote the same show four times." Oh yeah? What if it's the FIRST Primetime Kalan? "Dan, that's just the same old Kalan show at a new place and time. It's not that new." Touche, I say. But Elliott's promoting it multiple times, so why can't I? Observe Elliot's words...

Hello, Kalan Fans!
You've probably seen the TV ads, bus ads, phone kiosk announcements, and blimps, but just in case you missed the blitzkrieg bombardment of publicity, I'm here to announce an all-new episode of the all-new PRIMETIME KALAN, tomorrow night, saturday, at 8:30pm!
We're at a new space, a new time, with new jokes (for once!)! It's the beginning of a glorious new era in human civilization, an era that includes the amazing wildlife of Animalologist Richard Blomquist ("The Daily Show"), the astounding magic of Patrick Terry, and if that isn't enough for you, perhaps I should mention it's our Superman show? Yes, we've hitched our wagon to the most anticipated movie of the summer without its knowledge, and we've got tons of never-before-seen exclusive "Superman" footage that we made ourselves!
Can you afford to miss all this? The answer, of course, is no.
THE PRIMETIME KALAN - Saturday, June 24th, 8:30pm
Jimmy 43
43 East 7th Street
(between 2nd and 3rd ave.)
Tix: $5

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


I know that you're all out there thinking "Jiminy Christmas, it's a hot summer! I could sure go for a tall, cool Captains in Space right about now!"

Well, aside from being alarmed at your out-of-date slang terms (what are you, a 1930's newspaper boy?) I certainly appreciate your interest. Sadly, it's been a busy few weeks in the spacious and gleaming Captains in Space offices, located on the top floor of Manhattan's historic Chrysler Building. So it may be just a little while longer before episode four (complete with ROBO-DAN) hits the streets.

In the meanwhile, what better to slake your thirst for all things Captains than an endorsement? Emmy-winning former "Lost" scribe, and current "Medium" co-executive producer Javier Grillo-Marxuach has posted a kind little appreciation of our series over at his blog (there's no permalink, but check out the June 19 entry). Plus, a well-placed source has indicated to me that he was a particular fan of my last episode, Future Shock.

Thank you Javier for your nice words and your generous linkage. Kids, why can't the rest of you be more like Javi? Now tuck in your shirts.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Happy Birthday to ME

It's my birthday!

I was going to write a long post, pondering all the lessons I've learned over the past year. It was going to be rueful and clear-eyed and funny. But then I realized that pretending that my living another year meant that I've learned anything would just be a big lie. Also, I'm lazy by nature, so there's no better way for me to celebrate the day of my birth by honoring my flaws and not writing anything of value in this space whatsoever.

Eat my birthday, suckers!


Friday, June 16, 2006

The Primetime Kalan Debuts June 24!

As the title says, The Primetime Kalan is ready to take off. I'll let the man himself (Elliott Kalan) do the shilling:

Hello, Kalan fans!

As you may know, the Midnight Kalan is long gone, and the New Kalan Show has died anew. But wait! Is there yet another way that Elliott can egotistically name a show after himself? YES! THERE IS!

But what should it be called? Well, it's at a new, prime time, 8:30 pm, and a new prime night, saturday, June 24th....I don't know. Waitaminute! My favorite cut of beef is prime rib! Let's call it THE PRIMETIME KALAN!

And let's celebrate this new christening with an extravaganza so big how can we fit it into the new back-room-of-a-restaurant performance space we're moving to? Hell if I know! But we're going to have to find room for the comedy of Rich Blomquist (The Daily Show), the magic of Patrick Terry (Magician!), and a crapload of Superman-related jokes and videos! And did we mention you can now come see us without being tired at work the next day?

THE PRIMETIME KALAN - Saturday, June 24th, 8:30pm
@ Jimmy's 43 43 East 7th street (between 2nd and 3rd Ave) Manhattan
Tix: $5 (a pittance!)

We hope to see you there.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Gentle Reminder: Video Gaga TONIGHT!

Remember, tonight I will be appearing in a featured role in one of the videos in Sara Schaefer's Video Gaga.

Wednesday June 14, 9:30 p.m.
Tickets $5 (reserve at
Upright Citizen's Brigade Theatre
307 W. 26th Street, btw 8th & 9th

Also, while you're clicking on things, go over and check out Andres du Bouchet's inspiringly re-designed site, and be impressed at what a website can look like when it's just a blogger template. Special thanks to Andres for linking to me and to Captains in Space.

Also, in non-comedy news, I saw a free concert featuring the Eels (w/ Smoosh) last night, and they were awesome. Aside from the lack of charge, the best thing about the concert was that there was no dicking around-- they started on time, Smoosh played for 20 minutes, there was a 10-15 minute changeover, then the Eels played for an hour and a half. That's the way to do it. Highlights included their "Security Guard" who played maracas, guitar, and organ on a few numbers, in addition to performing elaborate kung fu moves and making cryptic interstitial pronouncements. And they closed with an improbably rockin' cover of Frank Sinatra's "That's Life."

Okay, this turned into a regular "recording the mundane details of my life" blog for a moment there, and I apologize-- but really, if you have a chance to see The Eels, know that they put on an amazing show.

Tonight's Video Gaga is a Gothamist pick. What more do you want?

Monday, June 12, 2006

Adventures in Tapingsitting: Video Gaga and The Primetime Kalan

So, people often ask me, "What is the glamorous life of a sort-of-kinda-member of the New York comedy world like?" And when confronted with such a wayward, possibly fictional, questioner, I feel the need to set them straight on a few points. My life isn't always a whirlwind of poorly-attended performances in basement theaters, or exciting rejection letters. No, sometimes it's also a long weekend of low-budget video shoots.

Yes, in my never-ending quest to make my weekends more like my weekdays, I spent 12 hours this past weekend shooting some pre-taped bits for two upcoming shows. On Saturday I was out in Bay Ridge taping three segments for the first "Primetime Kalan," and on Sunday I was in various locations around Park Slope helping on a segment for "Video Gaga."

Let's focus on Video Gaga first, since it's the first show on the calendar. It's hosted by Sara Schaefer, whom you may remember from the hit fake talk show Sara Schaefer is Obsessed With You, for which I used to write (although you'd never guess I'm a writer after reading that convoluted last sentence. Geez). So this will be a minor reunion of sorts.

Her new show is at The Upright Citizen's Brigade Theater, the 800-pound gorilla of NYC underground comedy. What is it about? In the words of VG's official description, "Sara Schaefer counts down funny music videos for you! With a live musical act, sketches, special guests, glittery dance numbers, and moxie to boot."

And from Sara's site, additional information specific to this installment: "Musical guest: Erin McKeown. Ahem. AMAZING. Featuring music videos by Adira Amram, The Fresh, Dave Thunder, and two from the Video Gaga camp! Did I mention that three of these will be world premieres? Oh boy oh boy oh boy! And more! Meet the Gaga Girls. Bask in the warmth of the glowing Video Gaga sign. And yes, there will be another fun surprise at the beginning (and end) of the show."

Where do I come in? Well, I have a featured role in one of the music videos. I can't say much about the specifics, but I can say this-- it involves 80 hot dogs.

Video Gaga is this Wednesday the 14th, at 9:30 PM, and costs $5 (reserve tickets at Upright Citizen's Brigade Theatre or buy at the door) 307 W. 26th Street, btw 8th & 9th. Closest subway stop is the C or E at 23rd (the 1,9 23rd St. stop is pretty close too).

As for the Primetime Kalan, it's the latest incarnation of Elliott Kalan(of the sketch group The Hypocrites, and an Associate Producer on The Daily Show)'s talk show/ variety program, which started out at midnight under the name The Midnight Kalan, moved to 10 PM and changed its title to The New Kalan Show, and is now moving once again, to an even earlier slot. We expect The Breakfast Kalan to debut sometime in January.

Meanwhile, though, the next show will be our first at our new location, Jimmy's No. 43, a bar not far from the old place. Finally, the show will start on time, there will be beer on tap, and you'll be able to go to the restroom without walking across the stage. What's more, we think you'll find our new time slot (Saturday at 8:30) more amenable than our old (Thursday at 10).

We'll be kicking off the new run with a theme show devoted to Superman, in honor of the Man of Steel's unexpected return to Metropolis. While Bryan Singer's all well and good, the rest of the Kalan gang and I shot a few of our own scripts, documenting some of his lesser-known adventures, and we'll be sprinkling them throughout the next show.

The Primetime Kalan is June 24 at 8:30 PM at Jimmy's No. 43, located downstairs at 43 East 7th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenue. By Subway: Take the 6 to Astor Place/ Take the R/W to 8th Street/ Take the F train to 2nd Avenue. The cost is $5.

So I hope that answers your nonexistant questions about my lifestyle, but more importantly, I hope you come to a show.

Oh, and I want to give a non-comedy-world shout-out to my good friend, the ever-lovely Fuse#8, who was on NPR's Weekend Edition this Sunday discussing summer reading, and, more specifically, children's literature. Give it a listen, won't you?

Friday, June 02, 2006