Product Review: If These Balls Could Talk

Whooping applause welcomes Louis Katz, comedian/director/person, to the crowning of his album recording; a hot, Sacramento crowd. Such love isn’t something to squander, oh no, as Katz returns the sentiment with immediate self-deprecation, the kind characterized by skyward chin, erect spine and a flaccid penis hanging through a gaping, open fly.

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Comedy Day (A Sylvanite In Purgatory)

I had a nightmare, a flashback to last year’s fiasco. The gung-ho Sylvan, vikingesque spirit in the morning devolved into utter agony and sunken morale by nightfall. We struck a contingency plan, but it relied on rest and strategy.

Sleep remained elusive as a will-o’-the-wisp; I only managed to dominate three or four “Z’s”. After the glorified nap, energy trickled in adequately, a lazy aqueduct flowing past bodies, the night’s leftover affiliates. A hot roll of hearty spray reset my decay. By three-o-morning I stood alert inside sodden jeans, a Sylvan tee, neon-green Newport cap, rolled-sleeved collared shirt, everyday shoes, Miramonte hoodie, gardening gloves (lesson learned) and a considerable amount of anxiety. The rest of SylvanHouse floated lazily in stasis.

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Exclusive: Moshe Kasher Interview (Part 2)

The following is the second and concluding portion of our interview with Moshe Kasher. Part One is available here, but isn’t completely necessary to peruse. Just have fun with it, ya know? Yeah, you know. Shared words after the jump. 

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Room Review: So You’ve Been Invited to the Purple Onion

You shift uncomfortably from foot to foot, queued on the sidewalk adjacent to a steamy Italian cafe. Quickly losing patience, which you’ve arguably never had, you’re inundated with idle conversations in a quagmire of unified strangers. Ostensibly waiting for comedy, truthfully you’re here for a single comedian, whom, is actually your charismatic co-worker, or your drug dealer, or your unhinged grandmother with a new lease on life. The Purple Onion straddles the coasts of the jostling Chinatown and North Beach’s unchecked vitality. Slinky couples clutch and shuffle through the habitat of urban smear mired in San Francisco’s classic, cellophane gray. As the proxy collective pulses forward, around and down a cumbersome staircase (very safe), and each individual is tolled by the ticket taker, the night’s makeup couldn’t be more smeared.

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Exclusive: Moshe Kasher Interview (Part 1)

The following interview took place April 4th 2012 at Vitus in Oakland on Moshe Kasher’s book tour. Moshe is a comedian based in Los Angeles, born in New York and raised in Oakland. He’s hilarious, and if you need to catch up, click: here

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Courting Comedy Officially Returns.

Hey folks, welcome back. I know, it seems just yesterday that the blog went on hiatus. One might assume the brief break was a presumptuous misstep, a short-sighted call for attention or a smoke screen for a holiday. Alas, as quickly as it returned, Courting Comedy was dead. 

In the midst of a lovely conversation at the Brainwash, the very fruits of my entertainment (a glass of Pabst Blue Ribbon) became the ultimate source of chaos. One false move and the amber nectar splashed a leaky, lethal injection onto my laptop. My laptop, the pride and joy, crux of my creative and professional endeavors, the keeper of my passwords and past words, was finished. To properly frame the predicament: not only would I cease to work, I would cease to eat; I would cease live.

I live on a diet of stale bread, student loans and spaghetti. My income is more modest than a rural mime. I planned to shuffle around town, shave my head, grow out my beard, write notes on napkins that I would never post for people who would never read them. My love of comedy would have melted away into bitterness and eventually I would watch the stage with dead, sunken, joyless eyes. Worse, it was my fault. Such mistakes, such regrets, such shame only enhance listless loneliness (different story, different day), and I was completely ready to give up. 

Thankfully, I’m blessed with some remarkable friends. One such compadre is David Cairns, a man I’ve admired from my baby steps at the House of Shields to the James Browning at Madrone Art Bar. Love is a depressingly shallow word for what I have for David, the George Harrison to my Monty Python. He saved my life (no exaggeration). Funny, yesterday he stated that he was a “business man” and that my work was his “investment”. Now I shall work even harder to warrant such generosity. Those who know gasp at that idea; I’m a tireless servant to San Francisco Bay Area comedy. Personally, any other life is a not a life worth living.

Thank you. Love you. Laugh you.

- O.J.

P.S. When you see David Cairns ( @davidcairns ), give him a big hug on behalf of Courting Comedy. 

Exclusive: Rory Scovel Interview (2/12/2012)

Last month, Sylvan Productions presented a night of stellar comedy at Vitus with Amy Miller, Sean Keane, Chris Garcia, Natasha Muse and highly touted, heavily hilarious Rory Scovel. Scovel took a few minutes to answer some aptly absurd questions. Enjoy.

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Exclusive: James Adomian Interview (2/12/2012)

James Adomian is talented beyond your knowledge and/or opinion. If you’ve never heard of him, you lose. If you’ve seen him on Last Comic Standing, you lose. If you’ve heard him on Comedy Bang Bang (nee Death Ray), you lose. If you’ve seen him on stage or screen, you lose. There is no polite way to inform you that you have missed out on a genuinely great comic mind. All that can be said is: catch up. One way to catch up is seeing him this Tuesday, at the Milk Bar, performing at the fiercely independent “Eric Show w/ Eric Barry”. Below is an exclusive interview with Mr. Adomian. If you read it, and fail to attend his rare appearance in the Bay Area this Tuesday, you lose.

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Product Review: Kelly McCarron’s “I’d Eat Them Both”

The night narrowly avoided calamity; Kelly was pulled over by an officer of the law en route to the show. Luckily the officer only issued a warning. “Wow, I learned something… I’m really pretty!” declares the sprightly comedian. Thus sets the tone for I’d Eat Them Both, a stand-up comedy album from Kelly McCarron, recorded live at the historic Purple Onion in San Francisco.

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The RunOff: Caitlin Gill (Part 1)

Many months back I interviewed Caitlin Gill for a piece featured on Antithesis Comedy. Much of the interview was trimmed out for brevity but I’ve lovingly transcribed a bit to present to you, the loyal readers. [P.S. I’m performing with Caitlin tomorrow at Vitus. I’m super excited for that fact alone. Added to that, one of my favorite comedians of all time (whom cannot be named for legal reasons) will be headlining the show. I’m incredibly blessed.]


Courting Comedy: Is there any story behind your name?

Caitlin Gill: My mom said it was Robert Frost’s wife name, but I’ve never fact checked that. I just ran with it; could very well be true. It’s Celtic, I’m Scottish.

CC: Where are you originally from?

Gill: I grew up in Napa, the illustrious Napa Valley… I don’t know, I hated it. It’s beautiful but I hated it. It’s repressed and people are happy about it; they’re just so content, so smug and content.

CC: Have you preformed out there?

Gill: Uh-huh, yeah, it’s brutal. Napa has a really nice venue where good comics play. Things are getting different and better there since I left in the last 10 years…Good things have happened downtown and it more fun to be there… [It was] culturally empty beyond alcohol during my time spent there.

I’ve played [Napa] at a place called Downtown Joe’s, which is a shitty brew pub. (I’m not afraid to say it Downtown Joe’s)… And the bartender was somebody I went to high school with. I was there with my boyfriend at the time who was sleeping with somebody I went to high school with (that wasn’t me). [I think] my parents were there with Kaseem Bentley, so I think I watched my father insulted by Kaseem Bentley. I had a good set and people were admiring and polite but I felt like it didn’t go well. I knew [the audience] appreciated it and that always makes me think badly of people. Like really? [Be]cause I know that was mediocre. So it’s nice of you to compliment but you are either being insincere or wrong.

It was skin-crawly. And I tried to go back and do it again because James Fluty ran a nice room out there that other comics made great use of (and they had awesome posters and it was fun to be a part of) but it was like laying on glass. Being on stage [in Napa] is like laying on glass; an impressive spectacle but painful for the performer.

CC: Was that your first taste of performing in front of the people you grew up with; were you in theater or anything like that?

Gill: I was in theater in high school… I tried to perform stand-up in high school. I got my whole drama class to sit down and listen to my “debut”. But I really thought I could just walk up and perform stand-up; it didn’t occur me to write anything down. So it lasted about, seven seconds (which may be generous) and it definitely ended in tears. I did comedic theater after that and then went to college.

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