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Live Performance

Dave Chappelle Rambles His Way to Instant Hartford Infamy

AP writer Dave Collins has a solid recap of last night’s Funny or Die debacle at the Comcast Theatre in Hartford. The city was the latest stop for the website’s Oddball Comedy & Curiosity Festival tour, and we do mean stop.

Headliner Dave Chappelle chose to throw away a sizable portion of his allotted time, possibly in reaction to being heckled. Or it may just have been because he didn’t really feel like performing last night.

Among those in the audience was Massachusetts state representative Matthew Lesser:

“He basically stopped his routine and refused to go on and said he was contracted for 25 minutes and said he was just going to sit there,” Lesser said. “He was berating the audience and telling them they were a lousy audience. I think it was kind of sad and disappointing.”

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Tom Cruise-Katie Holmes Send-Up Rolls into New York

It was a smash in Chicago. Now, August 20-24 at the Players Theatre as part of the New York International Fringe Festival, TheTomKat Project is set to wow fans in the very city where Katie Holmes pulled the plug on her marriage to Tom Cruise one year ago.

The play, featuring just a few odd props and the narration of writer Brandon Ogborn, skewers celebrity, the media and the Church of Scientology. There is no pretense at conventional celebrity impressions; lead actors Walt Delaney and Julie Dahlinger don’t much look like Cruise or Holmes. But that’s half the fun, with the support of a  versatile group of co-stars:

Based on actual interviews and completely imagined scenes, seven actors portray 54 characters including Oprah Winfrey, David Miscavige, Matt Lauer, Scarlett Johansson, Josh Hartnett, Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone, Cruise/Wagner partner Paula Wagner, Steven Spielberg, Nicole Kidman and Suri.

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MSG Aims to Make LA’s Forum Fabulous Again

For all those concertgoers who live west of the 405 freeway in Los Angeles, this is a BIG press conference. Later today, MSG will officially confirm the details of its “first business venture west of the Mississippi.” From Randy Lewis‘ LA Times report:

“There are plenty of venues in the LA market,” Madison Square Garden Co. executive chairman James L. Dolan told The Times on Friday, “but none of this size that can accommodate artists like the Eagles, with multiple-day runs where the venue is completely tuned into the concerts that are going to be put on.”

The inaugural booking signals the intense interest in the project by Eagles manager Irving Azoff, who also manages Christina Aguilera, Van Halen and Steely Dan. Azoff, former executive chairman of Live Nation Entertainment and previously CEO of Ticketmaster before it merged with Live Nation, has a long professional and personal association with Dolan.

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Mort Sahl on Possibly Leading Woody Allen Back to Stand-Up

Last week, New York Times culture reporter Dave Itzkoff shared an interview with Woody Allen. The article generated a fair bit of excitement because of Allen’s revelation that he has been inspired by a recent Mort Sahl comedy performance at the Carlyle Hotel to possibly contemplate a return to the stand-up stage:

“I was thinking of it. Since I saw him [Mort], I’ve just been toying with the idea. I would love to see if I could. Just getting together an hour of stuff to talk about would be a lot of work.”

FishbowlNY was curious how Sahl felt about possibly being once again Allen’s comedy muse. The 86-year-old legend, via email, was kind enough to respond.

“To your question on why Woody might have been “sparked” by the [Carlyle Room] shows,” Sahl writes, “I can only say that perhaps I had subjects in my monologue – movies, directors, beginnings in comedy, formulaic comedy – that registered with him and were experiences that we had together.”

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Wendy Williams: Broadway ‘Most Difficult Thing I’ve Ever Done’

It’s not every day, month or even year (Jerry Springer opera notwithstanding) that a daytime talk show host chats with their audience about the experience of being on Broadway. So be sure to check out Wendy Williams‘ rich rundown of playing Mama in the revival of Chicago.

Williams told the audience – following her first four weekend performances – that belting out a couple of musical numbers has been both thrilling and more difficult than anything she has attempted during her storied radio and TV career. She also segued at one point during the segment to a hilarious denial of a June 28 National Enquirer report.

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Seven Words for A Carlin Home Companion

Timely: This weekend’s May 18 performance at the ACME Comedy Theatre of Kelly Carlin’s acclaimed one-woman show A Carlin Home Companion attended by FishbowlLA came on the heels of dad George‘s posthumous birthday (May 12) and ahead of his talented daughter turning the big 5-0 (June 15).

Classic: Carlin intersperses two lively acts with some powerful and selective sourcing of dad’s famous comedy bits. Watching a clean-shaven young George crack up Johnny Carson as hippie weatherman Al Sleet on a 1966 Tonight Show broadcast is especially fun in this context. (Carlin made his first appearance on the program in 1962, pre-Carson, with guest host Mort Sahl.)

Shocking: The play is at times a frank and telling look at Kelly’s struggles growing up as the only child of a road-warrior dad and alcoholic mom. At one point, she reveals the shame and secrecy of a teenage romance with a boy who abused her emotionally and physically. The bittersweet punchline here is that the boyfriend’s (unnamed) mom was an Academy Award winner for Best Actress!

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Nick Cave and the Barcaloungers

FishbowlLA’s perch for last night’s sublime KCRW private event at Apogee’s Berkeley Street Studio in Santa Monica was about as far removed from the hot beating sun and whipping winds of Coachella as you can imagine. And… given the smooth, melancholy, 45-year-old Scotch-like flow of the set by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – who played Coachella last weekend and will do so again this Sunday – that perch could not have been more perfect.

There were two leather Barcaloungers in the small, second floor balcony space nestled under the wood-beamed, curved hangar roof of Berkeley Street Studio. That’s the ludicrously comfortable vantage point from which we enjoyed the private concert performance, which will be broadcast May 20 on Morning Becomes Eclectic.

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Ian Ziering to TMZ: ‘I’ve Got Two Front Row Seats for You!’

The press release headline is way too long. But today’s announcement that former Beverly Hills 90210 star Ian Ziering will be the June celebrity host in Vegas for the Rio Hotel & Casino’s Chippendales revue still earns our applause for the first few words of said headline: “Ian Ziering Changes Zip Codes…”

The PR folks at Michael Caprio Media Design could certainly have done more with the actor’s upcoming summer hang in the 89103. For example, this could have been a perfect opportunity to call back info about the zips of the filming location and school the fictitious 90210 one is based on. From seeing-stars.com:

The exterior shots for West Beverly High were actually filmed at Torrance High School, almost twenty miles away. And ironically, since Beverly Hills High is situated in the city’s southern section, the school’s actual zip code isn’t even 90210 – it’s 90212.

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LAT Theater Critic Reviews Tom Hanks the Tabloid Journalist

Did New York Post section editors really shout out this kind of stuff back in the heyday day?: “Where’s my nun-rape? Who’s got the subway slasher? I need the red meat. More red meat.”

The late Nora Ephron should know, as she was once a Post reporter. And, no matter what the subject matter for a film, TV project or, in this case, Broadway play, it’s hard to go wrong when you wrangle Tom Hanks for the lead. From today’s front-page Calendar review by LA Times theater critic Charles McNulty:

[Real-life, late Post columnist Mike] McAlary isn’t a completely likable fellow, but some of the best plays ever written (Oedipus Rex and King Lear, for starters) are dominated by figures that fill us with an uncomfortable ambivalence. And in any case, Hanks’ everyman charm renders the problem null and void. Not liking Hanks deserves a category in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. He doesn’t sand down McAlary’s rough edges and we’re still more or less favorably disposed to the character.

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Lynda Carter Wraps Up Three-Day Stint at Catalina Bar & Grill

It was a heck of a kick-off Thursday at Hollywood’s Catalina Bar & Grill for Lynda Carter.

Among the more recognizable people in the jazz club audience for the first of the 61-year-old actress’ three 8:30 p.m. singing performances were Les Moonves and Julie Chen. Though Moonves was of course not head of CBS back when the network aired Seasons Two and Three of Wonder Woman, pretty cool nonetheless. Carter had also done The Talk with Chen the day before.

Our spies tell us actress Sharon Lawrence (NYPD Blue, The Line) was also there to enjoy the March 14 performance and got a nice shout-out at one point from Carter. Cover versions performed for Lawrence, Moonves, Chen and co. Thursday included Adele’s “Rumor Has It,” the Supremes’ “Stop in the Name of Love” and “Fever.”

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