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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Nov. 29: Richard Lett

Regular readers here will note a change to the schedule. For weeks we had someone else listed as tonight's guest. But this being Christmas season, when high-paying corporate gigs come a-calling, you can never be too sure.

But we've got a great replacement. It's a comic who's not afraid to speak his mind: Richard Lett. The stand-up comic, poet, writer, musician, spoken word champ and former high school teacher is one of our favourite guests who always has lots to say, and says it well. I'll put his appearances on the show right up there with the best of the rest. He's got a reputation he cultivates of being rather an insensitive sort, but he's a softie at heart.

So tune in tonight from 11 to midnight on CFRO, 102.7 FM, in Vancouver. Or livestream it from wherever you might be. Give us a call, if you feel like it: 604-684-7561.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Nov. 22: No show

THIS JUST IN!: On this anniversary of the Kennedy assassination, there's nothing to report.

If you're sitting at home at 11 pm tonight and are in the mood for some conversation about comedy, don't tune in to CFRO, 102.7 FM. That's where you'll usually find us, but not tonight. We've been pre-empted. No doubt what's replacing us will be as stimulating as what we offer, but I can't guarantee it. If you really want to hear What's So Funny?, go download one of our hundreds of episodes on iTunes. Surely, you haven't heard them all.

Next week, we've got the dandy comedy of Bev PoCock and Chris Wes.

But I will leave you with this, from former WSF? guests Trevor Devall and Dylan Rhymer: a fascinating look at that tragic day in Dallas back in 1963:

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Nov. 15: Johnny Scoop

What's the scoop on Scoop? Tonight we find out as we welcome first-time guest Johnny Scoop. We'll get to the bottom of things, like his name, for starters. Were his parents fans of 1940s gangster flicks or is he? We'll also talk about the Story Slam, his obsession with records (467 straight "funny" posts on Facebook, doing the Grouse Grind 60 times this year), his weekly comedy shows at the Kingston on Mondays and Thursdays, and his love of the ampersand. The guy even comes with his own theme music. He is radio-ready. Looking forward to it.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Breslin podcast

Look at that, last week's radio show is in podcast form less than a week before its original air date. We are on top of things. This is my chat with Mark Breslin, author, actor, comedian, raconteur, bon-vivant, and founder and CEO of Yuk Yuk's. Available here (the blog), there (Comedy Couch), and everywhere (iTunes). (Again, if you're on iTunes, please rate the show and offer a comment. It feels so lonely there.)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Casts of the Pod variety

I've got three relatively recent episodes up on podcast already. Are we not on top of things these days? As always, listen here, at your friendly neighbourhood Comedy Couch, or over on iTunes. And while you're at iTunes, why not take the time to rate the show and leave a comment? I'm not asking for raves (unless they're heartfelt, of course). Any review and rating will do.

Meanwhile, here you go:

Danny Mendlow & Julie Webster, from Oct. 18, 2009:

Ardell Fitzpatrick and LeeAnn Keple:

Jon Dore/Harry Doupe, from Nov. 1, 2009:

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Nov. 8: Mark Breslin

On the day the Toronto Star runs a story on Yuk Yuk's founder and CEO Mark Breslin, we've got the guy for one full hour on What's So Funny? How's that for timing? The interview was recorded on October 3 in Saint John. It was 7:15 pm on the evening of the gala, which would start at 8 pm up the street. I was in the lobby of Breslin's hotel and decided to call him up to see if there'd be a time I could sit down and talk with him the next day. He says, "What about right now?"

So down he comes and we hunt around for a quiet space with no hissing fountains or loud hotel carts wheeling by. No one was in the "business center" (which consisted of one computer), so in we went. I told him to signal me whenever he had to get going, knowing the gala was within the hour. But he knew the show was an hour long and graciously went the limit. So we were late for the gala, but not very.

I love talking to Mark. He knows his stuff, is opinionated, fair and always compelling. In this interview he talked about his miserable childhood, where he, in his words, grew up as a "Jewish prince in a household of depressives". He talked of his early career managing folkies and how that transitioned into booking comedians. He defended himself against a few criticisms. And he spoke of his years as the comedy producer on the old Joan Rivers talk show. Good stuff.

What we didn't talk about was his new book on stand-up comedy in Canada. Why? Because I didn't know about it until this morning when I read the Star piece. The book is entitled The Yuk Yuk's Guide to Canadian Stand-Up. I'll put that on my Christmas list, and we'll have to have Mark back on to discuss it. You would think, judging from the title, that it would be a biased view, or at least one that discounts the contributions of any comedian not on the Yuks roster or located in Toronto. But a list of Breslin's 10 most influential stand-ups in this country includes one Mr. Brent Butt, who was never a Yuks man. Or if he was, broke with them early. Which leads me to believe that Breslin's book will at least attempt to be representative. Here's his list:
  1. Dave Broadfoot
  2. Brent Butt
  3. Jim Carrey
  4. Larry Horowitz
  5. Elvira Kurt
  6. Mike MacDonald
  7. Howie Mandel
  8. Paul Mandell
  9. Russell Peters
  10. Kenny Robinson
Read all about it in the Star. And tune in tonight.

ADDENDUM: Just read in the National Post that this "book" is in audio format only. Which makes more sense given that the cover says it features over 50 performances... Wait a second. The National Post? I thought it went under? Guess not... Here's an excerpt on Harland Williams:

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Nov. 1: Jon Dore and Harry Doupe

One of the challenges of doing a radio show on Sundays at 11 pm is lining up out-of-town guests. Visiting comics generally skip town early on a Sunday. But with my magic iPod, I'm able to record some interviews here and there and run them on the show. And that's what we have lined up for you tonight. When I was in Saint John, New Brunswick, a few weeks ago for the Canadian Comedy Awards, I was able to sit down with television's Jon Dore at a local mall for a half-hour conversation. He talks about his recently deceased TV show, and admits to being embarrassed by most episodes. Go figure. I thought it was one of the best things on the Canadian airwaves.

The second half-hour was a sit down in the hotel lobby with former Vancouverite Harry Doupe, who I used to see regularly at the old Punchlines in the early 1980s. Harry reminisced about the early days, told some road stories and talked about his annual Statelessness of the Industry speech.

It's a good hour, if I do say so myself. Tune in, won't you?