Mike & Molly's Billy Gardell on Fatherhood, the Steelers, and Acting Versus Stand-up

Categories: Comedy

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You likely know Billy Gardell as the Mike to Melissa McCarthy's Molly on the aptly titled CBS sitcom Mike & Molly. The very successful show is returning for its fifth season on December 8.

But before Gardell found fame on the small screen, he paid his dues traveling the country performing stand-up. Comedy is a passion which continues to fuel Gardell as he's just written and soon performing a new hour of material. He'll be taking his act to the Palm Beach Improv on December 30.

On a break from shooting Mike & Molly, Gardell phoned the New Times to discuss the differences between acting and stand-up, who inspired him to chase down a comedy career, and to talk a little football.


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Amy Schumer Is Not a Funny Woman; She's a Funny Person

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One of the more offensive things you can ask a female comic is: "What is it like to be a woman in comedy?"

The question itself looks innocent enough at first glance, but its subtext screams something different. What you're really asking is: How can you -- with your cumbersome vagina, milk-engorged breasts, and syrupy stream of estrogen weaving its way though your body -- how can you possibly be funny?


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Corey Holcomb - Fort Lauderdale Improv - October 30

Categories: Comedy

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Comedian Corey Holcomb, who currently plays "Boonie" on Adult Swim's Black Jesus, is definitely not for everybody, at all. If there are certain topics and language that you feel should not be used ever, especially in a joke context, stay clear of Corey Holcomb. Because I'll tell you, on Thursday October 30 at the Fort Lauderdale Improv, there were some unhappy, shocked, sour faces peppered in with people besides themselves with laughter.

And to be quite honest, at times I found myself shocked at the things he was saying, I didn't agree with his stances on most things, but I'd be a bold-faced liar if I said I wasn't in stitches most of the set.

See also: Corey Holcomb: "If You're an Insecure Person, My Twitter Feed Will Not Be Something You Like"


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MoNique on Getting Healthy, Shaving Again, and Her "Very Adult" Show

Categories: Comedy

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At the start of our interview, I asked MoNique how she was. She answered, "I'm wonderful! How are you?" I nervously replied, "I'm OK." At the end of our conversation, one in which we covered topics like leg shaving and exploring where confidence comes from, she instructed, "My love, if someone else asks you how you're doing, don't say, 'I'm OK...'" So, for the record, I'm doing great today. Mostly, though, it's because I had the chance to speak and laugh with this finest of comedian.

MoNique is bold always. Whether she's talking about farting onstage or acting in an Academy Award-winning role as an abusive mother in Precious, she is intense in all the right ways. Now in her mid-40s, a mother of four, the woman who wrote the book Skinny Women Are Evil is getting into shape by working out and eating right. We spoke with her about this new journey, what she's learned, and why she decided to take it.


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Steve Martin on the Banjo's Popularity, Martin Short, and the Loss of Robin Williams

Categories: Comedy, Interview

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Before answering Steve Martin's phone call, you spend some time biting your nails, giggling nervously, and wondering which Steve Martin you'll be speaking with at the other end of the line. He's King Tut, but he's also The Jerk. He's dueled banjos with Kermit the Frog and even pissed himself as Ruprecht in what is, safe to say, one of the best movies ever made, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

Something else he'll also always be is one of the Three Amigos. He's currently touring with Martin Short who costarred with him in the 1986 comedy. These are two of the funniest men of their generation. And Martin is by far one of the most successfully versatile. He is currently working on his first musical, with Edie Brickell, called Bright Star. He told us that if he shared the plot, it'd ruin it but did divulge that it's set in the 1920s and '40s and "reveals a secret about a woman's life."

This weekend, on the Hard Rock Live stage in Hollywood, we can expect to hear at least one Three Amigos song and plenty of banjo tunes. Here's what he had to say about his instrument of choice, Martin Short, and the late Robin Williams.

See also: Steve Martin with the Steep Canyon Rangers and Edie Brickell - Kravis Center, West Palm Beach - May 24


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Jen Kirkman on Her Standup, You're Gonna "Love It, Love It, Love It"

Categories: Comedy

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On a scale from one to Jen...we give her a Jen.

Like the rest of us in this sick, sad world, Jen Kirkman has a main gig and a few on the side. Except her main gig is awesome. She's a staff writer on Chelsea Lately and her weekends are spent touring the country with her solid standup act.

But wait, there's more! Kirkman is also a New York Times bestselling author -- ranting about not wanting to have kids in I Can Barely Take Care Of Myself. Through a bevy of outlets, the one in which she gets most personal is her podcast, I Seem Fun. Unlike other talk show podcast formats, Jen just sits in a room by herself with a microphone. Her ramblings have garnered her a cult following though she maintains a mainstream streak. Before Jen comes to the improv this Friday, we chatted about writing for Chelsea, the second book slump, and why she was begging to come back to West Palm.

See Also: He's Just Not That Into You's Greg Behrendt on Living With David Cross: "We Lived Like Two Dainty Old Men"


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Orange Is the New Black: A Litchfield Character-by-Character Soundtrack

Categories: Comedy

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Both crazed and casual fans alike couldn't wait for the second season of Orange Is the New Black which premiered online early last month. The Emmy-nominated Netflix original series has a large following of dedicated obsessives, and although you could have watched the whole season at one fell swoop, those of us with enough self-control to pace themselves watch on Wednesdays.

The show, centered on the character of Piper Chapman, tells the story of a rather eclectic mix of women serving time in prison. The second season has provided a lot of backstory on how these gals landed their asses in the slammer and into the beginnings of Piper and Alex's heated and oh, so very complicated relationship. And while we got a lot less of Laura Prepon, formerly Hot Donna, it's been another amazing season.

Ever since we saw Piper and Alex shake it to "Milkshake" and sang along with the ladies during the prison blackout to Lisa Loeb's "Stay," we've been wondering what other tunes the lovely ladies of Litchfield enjoy. Here's a detailed OITNB character playlist, a breakdown of what we imagine these women love to listen to while doing their time.


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Dennis Miller's Xenophobic Standup Is Seriously Offensive

Categories: Comedy

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So much loathing behind that innocent smile.
Dennis Miller made himself chuckle onstage last night at Hard Rock Live in Hollywood, Florida, with the line, "Arabs will go to the moon when the Israelis set up camp there."

Hardy fucking har? Out of context, it doesn't make much sense, but the parts are what are important here. It took about three minutes of anti-Arab diarrhea gushing from the hateful maw of the former Saturday Night Live Weekend Update anchor and recent commentator on The O'Reilly Factor before I decided I didn't need the abuse and left the show. As an American of Arab descent, I was, to put it delicately, pretty fucking grossed out.

I knew it or something like it was coming, but I couldn't sit through his hate speech considering the current conflicts in the Middle East. As the crowd cheered with glee at the dehumanizing stereotypes, I kept thinking about the NPR story I heard the day before about a father in Gaza assuaging his children's horror -- kids made physically ill from fear -- by saying the bombs dropping around them are fireworks.

The set actually started out hopeful. It was pretty funny and punchy. But toward the end, the atmosphere in the room went from potentially listenable to seriously hostile.

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Bert Kreischer - Fort Lauderdale Improv - July 10

Categories: Comedy

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You'd think that an 8 o'clock, Thursday night comedy show would be a sparsely attended event. That most people would be at home eating spaghetti with their families. But not the crowd that hits up the Fort Lauderdale Improv. They show up.

Whether you're a fan of his stand-up, Travel Channel show, podcast, or recent book, if Bert Kreischer comes to town, you're going to check it out.

See also: Bert Kreischer Learns "Everything's Kind of Fleeting"

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Bert Kreischer Learns "Everything's Kind of Fleeting"

Categories: Comedy

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Imagine if your first claim to fame was being featured in an article as the "top partier" at the top party school, Florida State University. It'd be kind of a crazy thing right?

Now imagine Oliver Stone read that article and bought the rights to make a movie about your life. Then that fell to the wayside. Then the Fresh Prince discovers you and nothing happens. And so on, and so forth.

That kind of disappointment would demoralize most, but not Bert Kreischer. He was able to turn those near wins into actual successes. He's hosted five television shows, several standup specials, and written a new book Life of The Party: Stories of a Perpetual Man-Child. Bert is now regarded as a master storyteller and is host of the Travel Channel show Trip Flip where he takes random, unsuspecting people on an immediate 5-day vacation of his choosing.

Bert was kind enough to have a little chat with with us on the phone, where we discussed his many ups and downs, the impact writing a book has had on him, his family life, and even one of his recent dreams.

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