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September 20, 2012 | By Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times Theater Critic
Connoisseurs of really bad television - you know you're out there - whose taste for schlock hasn't been satisfied by the mediocre new fall season should run to the Pasadena Playhouse to see "Under My Skin. " The title is meant to be romantic, but anyone who manages to sit through both irritating acts of this lowest-common-denominator comedy will know that the truth is far more painfully dermatological. Some might consider this a sitcom performed live, an evening's escapist entertainment, a harmless piece of fluff.
April 4, 2014 | By Marion McNabb
I'd been living in Los Angeles a short time when I found myself in an improv comedy class in Hollywood. A friend who was also an actress had encouraged, well, nagged me to enroll in what is now iO West, the West Coast offshoot of Chicago's ImprovOlympic. I was intimidated, but I also was lonely and looking for a challenge, so I went. That choice, to face my fears and connect with others, forever changed my life. From the outside, the tiny theater space on a stretch of Santa Monica Boulevard looked industrial - not the beachy sort of place I, a newcomer to L.A., had imagined it would be. I was not impressed.
November 22, 2012 | By Greg Braxton, Los Angeles Times
Matthew Moy could barely contain himself, almost leaping out of his chair at an outdoor Beverly Hills cafe with excitement. "See this?" Moy exclaimed, showing off the bronze clip on his dark tie, which read, "This is a horcrux. " The "2 Broke Girls" costar chuckled, amused that his presentation had attracted only a quizzical expression from his table mate. "A horcrux is what is used by a dark wizard or witch to hide a part of their soul. You obviously aren't that familiar with Harry Potter.
March 24, 2014 | By Carol Starr Schneider
Even in the emergency room at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center at 5 a.m., while waiting to be seen after a fall, my 92-year-old dad knew a straight line when he heard one. "Are you comfortable?" a nurse asked, propping him up with a pillow. "I make a living," he said without missing a beat. My father, Ben Starr, was the son of immigrants who fled Russia with their senses of humor intact, and he put that cultural inheritance to good use throughout his life. Growing up in Brooklyn, he was known as "Peanut" because of his size.
January 26, 2012
'Inside Comedy' Where: Showtime When: 11 p.m. Thursday Rating: TV-14 (may be unsuitable for children under the age of 14)
August 10, 2000
Who's in town highlighted by Paul Brownfield (Page 7). ACME Comedy Theater (135 N. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles, [323] 525-0202). "You Bet Your Honkey," Fri., 8:30 p.m. "ACME Unplugged," Fri., 10 p.m. "ACME McBeal," Sat., 8 p.m., "J. Keith Van Straaten Show," Sat., 10 p.m. "A Raisin in the Sunday Show," Sun., 7:30 p.m. The Comedy and Magic Club (1018 Hermosa Ave., Hermosa Beach, [310] 372-1193). Gordy Brown, Thurs.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 10 p.m. call for details; Jay Leno, Sun., 7 p.m.
February 2, 2012
Kathy Griffin started her career with L.A.'s famed Groundlings troupe before appearing on "ER," "The X-Files" and "Seinfeld," where she played the recurring character Sally Weaver. Griffin went on to costar alongside Brooke Shields in "Suddenly Susan" before starring in her own reality show, Bravo's Emmy-winning, "Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List. " A veteran stand-up performer, Griffin will appear for two back-to-back nights of comedy at the historic Pantages Theatre. Pantages Theatre, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., L.A. 8 p.m. Fri. and Sat. $45 to $95. (800)
August 12, 2010
Stand-up students in the Groundlings comedy program strut their stuff in "Attack of the 50-foot Sunday," a weekly series beginning Sunday. Brimming with fresh talent, including Tom Blank, Laurel Coppock and Jeff Galante, the cast presents new sketches each week as well as a closing improv set at the end of each show. Groundlings Theater, 7307 Melrose Ave., L.A. 7:30 p.m. $15. (323) 934-4747.
September 14, 2012 | By Deborah Vankin
Comedy, social media and decidedly old-media book publishing collide in the new book "Humblebrag: The Art of False Modesty," out this week. Harris Wittles, a writer on the NBC sitcom "Parks and Recreation," coined the practice, which is essentially a boast masquerading as a whine. He started the Twitter feed @humblebrag dedicated to the best 140-character examples. The book collects them, and breaks down humblebrags ("noun, verb = huhm-buhl'brag") by type. Some of our favorite celebrity pretension: --Fox News' Greta Van Susteren: "Ugh.
October 31, 2013 | By Yvonne Villarreal
Tina Fey is about to go into bossy-pants mode (again) for NBC. The peacock network has ordered straight-to-series 13 episodes of a new untitled comedy from Fey and her producing partner Robert Carlock that will star "The Office" alum Ellie Kemper. (Yep, you're reading correctly: Fey will be behind the camera on this one.) The single-camera comedy is to debut next fall and will center on a woman (Kemper) who escapes  a doomsday cult and starts life over in New York City. “We have been lucky enough to work at NBC for our entire careers (except when Robert worked at 'The Dana Carvey Show,' now available on DVD)
March 15, 2014 | By David Colker
Comedian David Brenner, who vaulted to fame through his appearances on the "Tonight Show" in the 1970s, died at home in New York on Saturday. The cause was cancer, said his former publicist, Jeff Abraham, who issued a statement on behalf of Brenner's family. He was 78. Brenner was working as recently as December, with club dates in Toronto and other spots, Abraham said. The comedian was a favorite of "Tonight Show" host Johnny Carson at a time when appearances on the late-night program could ensure success for a comic.
March 14, 2014 | By Oliver Gettell
After first making his mark as a child actor on '80s sitcoms "Silver Spoons" and "The Hogan Family," Jason Bateman reinvented himself as an adult star via the comedy series "Arrested Development" and a string of big-screen roles, usually playing an embattled everyman. With his directorial debut, the foul-mouthed spelling bee comedy "Bad Words," opening in six theaters Friday, Bateman enters a new stage in his career (he also stars in the film). "Bad Words," which was made for less than $10 million, has earned generally positive reviews and had a "69% fresh" rating on the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes . Time will tell how it performs at the box office.
March 13, 2014 | By Inkoo Kang
Some filmmakers want to show you their heart, while others are content to train their cameras on their navels. Director-writer-star Kevin Hamedani opts for the latter category with his quasi-autobiographical buddy comedy "Junk," an insular, fitfully amusing look at the film festival world from the perspective of two novice screenwriters. Hamedani and his co-writer and costar Ramon Isao made the political B-movie "Zombies of Mass Destruction. " In "Junk," they play fictionalized versions of themselves - Kaveh and Raul, feuding writing partners who collaborated on the political B-movie "Islama-Rama 2: Mustafa Lives" and need to produce another screenplay on the quick to impress a powerful Japanese genre producer Yukio Tai (James Hong)
March 13, 2014 | By Gary Goldstein
Like the put-upon pharmacist at its center, the neo-noirish suburban comedy "Better Living Through Chemistry," co-written and co-directed by Geoff Moore and David Posamentier, is a bit of a cheat - and goes soft in the clutch. Said druggist Doug Varney (Sam Rockwell) is the henpecked hubby of a scornful fitness nut (a misused Michelle Monaghan), with an angry 12-year-old son (Harrison Holzer) and a controlling father-in-law (Ken Howard). But Doug goes from doormat to Don Juan when new customer Elizabeth (Olivia Wilde)
March 13, 2014 | By Robert Abele
The only possible reaction to an amateurish romance like "Shirin in Love" is: Do the filmmakers think we're all idiots? Practically every scene in this tale about a glamorous, unhappily engaged Los Angeles book reviewer (Nazanin Boniadi) with an eye for the handsome son (Riley Smith) of a reclusive novelist (Amy Madigan) is an abject filmmaking lesson in the many ways to irk moviegoers: cardboard characters, dippy plotting, sentimental overkill and tortuous logic. The thinly conceived Shirin is ostensibly meant to embody the kind of young, vivacious Iranian American member of the "Tehran-geles" community who finds it hard to balance cultural tradition with independence.
March 13, 2014 | By Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
Sarcastic, sanctimonious, salacious, sly, slight and surprisingly sweet, the black comedy of "Bad Words," starring and directed by Jason Bateman, is high-minded, foul-mouthed good nonsense. I had wondered where Bateman's angry itch would take him next. The script, by Andrew Dodge, his first to be produced after many years in the studio trenches, is a good match of man and material. As an actor - whether a victim trying to even the score with Melissa McCarthy in "Identity Thief" or the ruthless top firing dog in "Up in the Air" - Bateman always brings an edge to his work.
March 12, 2014 | By Greg Braxton
Comedy Central has expanded the coming fourth season of its hit series "Key & Peele" and given its creators, Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, a development deal to spin off their "Vandaveon & Mike" characters into an animated series. The "Key & Peele" extension brings to 22 the number of episodes ordered for the fourth season, plus two "best of" installments. 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March 12, 2014 | By Yvonne Villarreal
Here's an announcement written in the stars: CBS has renewed "The Big Bang Theory" for an additional three years, taking it into the 2016-2017 season. It's the second time the series has scored a three-season renewal. And one doesn't need to be a science nerd to understand how the power behind the comedy's ratings plays into its life extension. The Thursday series is TV's top-rated comedy among adults 18-49. The series, currently in its seventh season, is averaging a hefty 19.8 million viewers per week and a whopping 6.1 among the 18-49 demo.
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