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January 22, 2008 | P.J. Huffstutter, Times Staff Writer
Comic Ray Hanania nervously paced backstage at the Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies and occasionally peeked around the velvet curtains to gauge the mood of the school's packed theater. The downtown audience -- Arab businessmen, a Palestinian professor, Jewish students and Israeli families -- glanced curiously at one another and quietly chatted in their seats. Some fidgeted nervously. "Think it'll be like Tel Aviv?"
January 7, 2008 | By Betsy R. Rosenthal, Special to The Times
IT'S become our annual tradition. A fortysomething, fiftysomething, sixtysomething and seventysomething spend the weekend at a health spa in Ojai. My mom treats her sisters and me. To take advantage of the mother-daughter special, her sisters masquerade as her daughters. The laughs begin immediately, as we weigh the granite-like breakfast muffins the spa serves, the ones we've dubbed hockey pucks. Unlike many of the guests here, we don't overly exert ourselves. We're too busy making trouble.
December 16, 2007 | Tony Perry, Times Staff Writer
Teresa Reynolds, daughter Kelsea, son Tyler and their miniature dachshund Sable settled into chairs Saturday morning at the San Diego Supercomputer Center for an early Christmas present. A satellite connection was established, and soon Marine Master Gunnery Sgt.-select Kenneth Reynolds was on the screen from the air base at Al Asad, Iraq, as part of a program to keep military families in touch with deployed loved ones through teleconferencing.
December 9, 2007
Dan Neil's column on toys was so laugh-out-loud funny that I paused "Meet the Press" on TiVo four times while my wife was reading it because of her cracking up. I read it myself later and laughed out loud again at the same parts. Good writing! Perhaps Neil is the new Dave Barry for our times. I know a few columnists by name: Thomas Friedman, Maureen Dowd. Now when I see Dan Neil's byline, I will also take a look. Laughter lessens our stress and extends our lifespan.
December 1, 2007 | Valerie J. Nelson, Times Staff Writer
Joe Restivo, a comedian and character actor who performed on the national comedy club circuit for many years with a stand-up routine that reveled in the absurdities of everyday life, has died. He was 60. Restivo, who was a resident of Valley Village, died Monday at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank after a long battle with cancer, said his wife, Maryanne. His comedy was filled with what has been described as middle-class angst.
October 7, 2007 | Brad Dickson, Brad Dickson is the co-author of "Race You to the Fountain of Youth."
I know that O.J. Simpson is guilty of the crimes he's accused of committing in Las Vegas, just as I knew he was guilty of murdering his wife and her friend in 1994. I also know that Phil Spector is a murderer with freaky hair. Robert Blake most likely killed his grifter wife. I knew at the time that the late Richard Jewell was a bumbling oaf who was probably involved in some nefarious activity the night of the Centennial Olympic Park bombing.
August 18, 2007 | Tiffany Hsu, Times Staff Writer
When Arnold Schwarzenegger met Merv Griffin, the bodybuilder was newly arrived in California from Austria and had never been on a talk show. But as now-Gov. Schwarzenegger recalled in a speech punctuated by laughter Friday afternoon at Griffin's Beverly Hills funeral, the talk show host got around Schwarzenegger's poor English and made him feel at ease. The future governor said he knew immediately that he and Griffin would become good friends.
June 25, 2007 | Elena Conis, Special to The Times
Tumbling puppies. The latest YouTube making the rounds. Will Ferrell on the big screen. All can provoke the flexing of facial muscles and respiratory contractions that amount to a laugh. Genuine laughter (and possibly even forced laughter) may be, if not the best medicine, then a pretty good one. But laughter sometimes has a more somber side. Back in the '60s, now-emeritus Stanford psychiatry professor Dr.
April 11, 2007 | Mike Boehm, Times Staff Writer
With repeat off-Broadway successes but a less-proven record in commercial theater, stage director Christopher Ashley will become La Jolla Playhouse's artistic director in October, succeeding Des McAnuff, who turned the playhouse into a developmental workshop and launching pad for a series of Broadway hits. Announcing the 42-year-old New Yorker's appointment Tuesday, the playhouse's board chairman, Ralph Bryan, said a wide-ranging search had yielded "an accomplished theater artist ...
April 10, 2007 | Maria Elena Fernandez, Times Staff Writer
WHAT do you get when you try to cross "Heroes" with "Ugly Betty"? A pilot season in which all the networks, it seems, are looking for a laugh. Even in dramas. So long to the dark serialized sagas of the past season. The tribe of viewers spoke, and "Kidnapped," "Smith," "The Nine" and "Vanished," among others, quickly disappeared, giving way to close-ended dramas that manage to amuse as they titillate, and offbeat comedies with characters we haven't seen before.
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