Theatre Review “Tootsie: The Comedy Musical”@ Dr. Phillips Center – Orlando, FL

FAIRWINDS Broadway in Orlando Presents:
November 2–7, 2021
Walt Disney Theater

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

November 2nd was a big day in Orlando, FL at the Walt Disney Theater at Dr. Phillips Center. It was the return of Broadway to the stage. “Tootsie” is the first Broadway in Orlando production since the pandemic shut everything down. It was a glorious return to the stage at the Walt Disney Theater. The place was packed and the audiences were ready to enjoy some fun Broadway theater. Let’s just say that “Tootsie” did not disappoint its audience.

If you are saying to yourself, “Tootsie”, isn’t that the 1982 movie with Dustin Hoffman…and the answer is yes. They made a musical about it. The show premiered on Broadway in New York back in 2018 and I have to admit it really worked as a musical. The songs were funny and laugh out loud at parts.  In case you are not familiar with the movie the play features a 40-year-old failed actor Michael Dorsey (played by Drew Becker) who plays decides to cross-dress as “Dorothy Michaels” to land a role in a an upcoming musical sequel of “Romeo and Juliet”.

Drew Becker was phenomenal playing both roles with ease and nailing every second of it. In “Tootsie”, the director is played by Adam Du Plessis and he also steals the show with his fantastic dance skills. Props also go to Ashley Alexandra for winning our hearts as Dorsey’s love interest. Payton Reilly honestly, annoyed the hell out of me playing Dorsey’s ex-girlfriend but definitely saving the day was Jared David Michael Grant, playing Dorsey’s best friend. Him and Drew Becker has great chemistry and it really connected on the stage.

The play does have a solid score by 2018 Tony-winner David Yazbek (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels). The song were really fun like I mentioned and definitely had the lady sitting behind me belly-laughing. The show is playing at the Walt Disney Theater from November 2-7, 2021 and if you can get tickets, I would highly recommend. In a time when everyone is worrying about the news, work and struggles of life…it is good to get out and laugh once in a while and “Tootsie” definitely helped in that department!

Ben Brainard talks about his sketch comedy series Welcome to the Table

Ben Brainard is a comedian with a natural ability to make any crowd laugh. Originally from Daytona Beach, and now living in Orlando, Ben has toured across the country. He’s also produced several shows for Army Reserve units. During quarantine, Ben found viral success producing “The Table,” a sketch comedy series about how the various states of the US are handling current events.

Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Ben about his sketch comedy and also his upcoming tour dates and secret upcoming project!!!

Comedy Classic “Some Like it Hot” Heading to Omaha

Film historian Bruce Crawford has announced the film to be presented at his 36th Tribute to Classic Films will be Billy Wilder’s Oscar-winning “Some Like It Hot.” The film will be screened on Friday, April 24, 2015 at the beautiful Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, Nebraska.

Often considered the greatest film comedy of all time, ranking #1 on the American Film Institute’s list of the top 100 film comedies, “Some Like It Hot” stars Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe. The evening’s special guest will be Curtis’ daughter, Kelly. Also, as with other Classic Film Tributes, artist Nicolosi will design a commemorative United States Postal Envelope honoring the film. The artwork will be unveiled prior to the screening.

Tickets for the event, which will begin at 7:00 p.m., are $23.00 and can be purchased at the customer service counters of all Omaha-area HyVee food stores. Tickets go on sale on Wednesday, April 1, 2015. Proceeds will benefit the Omaha Parks Foundation. For more information call (402) 926-8299 or visit

Dave Coulier talks reflects on his role in “Full House” and his stand-up comedy tour

Dave Coulier is know best for his role as Joey Gladstone on “Full House”. What you may not know is that before “Full House”, Dave started out as a stand-up comedian. Well, he is returning to those roots this year with a comedy tour and is hitting the road with dates all around the country. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Dave about his tour, reflect a bit on “Full House” and even chat about his voice acting roles on “The Real Ghostbusters”. Check out his tour dates, here.

Mike Gencarelli: This year is a big year for you as you tour the comedy circuit from January through October; what can we expect that these shows?
Dave Coulier: I started doing stand up many years before “Full House” and I really wanted to get back to my roots. I love performing live. I have been lucky because people have really been packing these venues. I sold out shows in Cleveland and Cincinnati in the last month. I think a lot of people know me from “Full House” but not as a stand-up comedian. So it has taken a couple of years to remind people that this is what I started doing. But I have a really funny show. I talk about “Full House” a bit but you will also get to see what I do when you are not watching me on “Full House” re-runs. So it is fun!

MG: What would you say is one of the hardest parts of doing stand-ups?
DC:I think the most challenging part for me personally is the travel. The writing is a constant challenge for sure and the actual performing on stage is a real blast and I love it. I also really enjoy getting to meet my fans afterwards during the meet and greets. Like I said though, the hard part is being away from my wife and my family. You are living out of a suitcase in a hotel, so that is certainty tough. The performing, I have been doing that for 35 years, so that part is just a lot of fun.

MG: Since you are touring throughout the year, what do you do to make sure your material does get old for you personally each night?
DC:It is a constant process of weeding out material that doesn’t work and filling it with stronger, fresher and better stuff. That is the process night after night. This set that I am working with now is about an hour and fifteen minutes with material which will also be included in a stand-up special that we are going to be shooting soon. It is going to be called “Glorified Birthday Clown”.

MG: I know a few years ago you did a “Clean Guys of Comedy Tour”; is your current tour family friendly or adults only?
DC:I have always worked pretty clean. If you look at the landscape of comedy today, there is a wide specter of guys like myself, Jim Gaffigan, Brian Regan, Jerry Seinfeld and we are all clean. Then there is the other side of the spectrum where the comedians are using F-bombs and being very edgy and there is a lot of different flavors in between that. For me, I just never worked any different. My goal early in my career was to get on “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson, which was clean. So, I got to make my first appearance on “The Tonight Show” when I as 24 years old and since then, I never really changed my style. So if you come out to one of my shows, you will not be offended. We have all types of people ranging from teenagers to grandparents.

MG: When you played Joey Gladstone on “Full House”; did you ever imagine that this show would still be so popular and people would still be saying taglines like “Cut. It. Out!”, after all these years?
DC:I think we are all really proud of the work we did and that it has had such longevity. It has also become very multi-generational. We have never been off the air since 1987. We have been syndicated in over 100 countries around the world. I think it owes to the fact that it is good family entertainment. You get some good values when you watch an episode of “Full House” and they don’t produce shows like that anymore. We are all also still friends as well, in fact just prior to us speaking now, I was on the telephone with John Stamos. We are closer than ever and I really love the friendships that have developed from working on this show.

MG: Lastly before “Full House”, you have also done tons of great voice work including voicing Dr. Peter Venkman on “The Real Ghostbusters”; what was it like working on a show like that?
DC:It was an great show to work on. It was such an iconic movie and to be able to play a part that Bill Murray played was a real treat for me because I am a real fan of his. It still has a fan base as well. In fact, at one of my stand-up shows recently and a fan had brought actual animation cells from the show to have me sign. So that was really cool that people are still enjoying it also. So for me the coolest part was just to have been involved.

Brian Regan talks about his Summer Stand-Up Comedy Tour

Brian Regan started off in the comedy business after his 1997 CD, “Brian Regan Live” took off and became a huge success. Since then we have been non-stop touring, has worked with Jerry Seinfeld and has appeared on “The Late Show with David Letterman” over 25 times. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Brian about up summer comedy tour, which makes a stop in Orlando FL on June 21st. and about his amazing career as a stand-up comedian.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about your current tour this summer with upcoming stops in Orlando, FL?
Brian Regan: If people like music and dancing and comedy, come on out because I offer one third of that [laughs]. I never know how to sell my own show. It’s me just doing my comedy and that is kind of it. I love the simplicity of it. It is also fascinating to me being off stage before the show starts and you look out and see a microphone stand, a stool and a bottle of water…then you go “Wow, that’s it…that is all I got out there” [laughs]. The simplicity is beautiful and I love the challenge of it.

MG: What do you do to prepare for each show?
BR: I am not like some people that have a crazy routine they have to follow. I will re-tie my shoes though. I know it sounds goofy but the thought of having a shoe untied on stage kills me for some reason. I had a shoe untie when I was on stage a couple of years ago and it just felt incredible awkward, you know? I had to try and put the mic under my armpit and tie my shoe…and you have a thousand people watching you [laughing]. They are thinking “This is supposed to be entertainment…not watching a guy tie his shoe”. It just felt wrong.
MG: …Wow, I can’t believe that he double knots [laughs]
BR: [laughs] Yeah, maybe I should invest in those kids’ Velcro shoes or something, I don’t know.

MG: How do you blend your classic work with your new material when you perform a live show?
BR: When I first come out, I do about an hour and that is the most recent material from the last few years. This is the show that I am working on, so to speak, is the more recent stuff…the fresher stuff. Then usually, I will say “Goodnight” and then come back out and do a little encore. During that time, I might do a handful of bits that people are more familiar with and they will be able to shout out and so on. I like having that line in the sand to delineate between the two. It would be awkward for me to just do old bits. I would feel a little stale.

MG: I saw one of your shows a few years back and people kept calling out for classic bits…
BR: It is an interesting dilemma. I am honored that people know my stuff and want to hear it. My fans are very cool. They usually know that for my first hour they let me do my thing and they know they will have an opportunity at the end to shout out. You can get some people shouting out in the middle of the show “Do Donut Lady! Take Luck!” I usually just smile, nod and go back to my new stuff [laughing]. I try and nice guy it and usually they get the hint. Some people don’t get the hint and they keep yelling and then I have to tell them the process and how I will get back to that stuff once I plow through this new stuff. Then if they heckle a third time…I have them shot with a BAZOOKA! [laughs].

MG: Congrats on recently making your 26th appearance on “The Late Show with David Letterman”, the most of any comedian; how does this feel for you?
BR: Thanks man, I am very honored by it. There was a day that I couldn’t even get on the show. I had auditioned a couple of times. They were intrigued but never pulled the trigger on me. When I did get on the show, it meant the world to me. Doing the one means everything and the moment you are done, you think “Wow, was it good enough to get a second” [laughs]. Automatically you have a new goal. It is like crossing the finish line at a marathon and wondering where the next 26 miles go to. I obviously did well enough that I was brought back a second time and I was able to just get some traction on that show. Clearly Letterman and the show seemed to like me and it just feels tremendous to have this constant national booster shot that I can get on the show about every nine months.

MG: Along with David Letterman, you have many big named celebrities like Jerry Seinfeld and Patton Oswalt praising your work; does that add any pressure to how to perform?
BR: Nah, listen I am incredibly honored by it. When you have people who do what you do like what you do. It is like the ultimate compliment. I don’t put any extra pressure on my shoulders. What is the expression…”you dance with the one that brung you”. I just do what I always done. I just try and come up with stuff that I think is funny. I just do my thing. What I like is turning the material over. To me, that is one of the thing that has really helped me along the ways. Every couple of years, I feel like I have another hour of material under my belt. So people tend to keep coming back. So I try not to worry about what other comedians will think. I am honored that they like what I do but I think they like what I do because I do what I want to do [laughs].

MG: How do you feel that stand-up has changed since starting back in the mid-90’s?
BR: The technical side of things have definitely changed. It gives the average Joe Blow out there in the entertainment world a fighting chance, especially if the powers that be aren’t inclined to give them a fighting chance. Back in the day when it was just TV, you needed to convince “The Late Show” or “The Tonight Show” that you were funny. Then getting on one of those, I am going way back here, was sort of being knighted. It put you into the forefront. Now things are much more fractured, there is many ways to get content out there. Anybody can tape themselves and put it up on YouTube. If they have some jets then they might be able to get some traction, which could lead to the higher ups taking notice. So for the most part it is good but there is just a sea of content out there and in some ways makes it harder to break through. There are a million people with a million clips.

Don Jamieson talks about VH1’s “That Metal Show” & new comedy album “Hell Bent for Laughter”

Don Jamieson is a veteran stand-up comedian who can be seen weekly on VH1 Classics popular television series “That Metal Show”. Along with co-host Jim Florentine and Eddie Trunk the trio spread the word of all things metal while incorporating in studio interviews with everyone from Zakk Wylde to Steve Harris of Iron Maiden. Media Mikes spoke with Don recently about his work on the show and about his upcoming comedy album titled “Hell Bent for Laughter”.

Adam Lawton: How did you first get connected with Eddie Trunk?
Don Jamieson: Jim Florentine and I were fans of Eddie’s radio show which is on here in the NY/NJ area. We usually always listened to his show on our way back from some awful comedy gig that was out in the middle of nowhere that we didn’t get paid for. The only solace we would have from those crappy gigs back in the day was to get in to the “Trunk Zone”. On his show Eddie would talk about all the bands that we grew up listening to and really loved. Eddie was just like as so we had to meet him. Today they call it stalking (laughs) but we basically just walked around some shows until we found him and we all ended up becoming best friends. It’s great to all be working together on the VH1 Classic show.

AL: What were the first ideas mentioned about doing the show?
DJ: After we had become friends with Eddie he would have us on his radio show as guests and we were basically doing what would become the television show however on the radio at that time. We just talked about music and sat in when there were guests. We broke each other’s balls then just like we do now and there was some good chemistry there. We figured we would try and find someone crazy enough to put this on television.

AL: What has fan reception been like since returning to New York for season 13?
DJ: We loved doing the show in Los Angeles and being recognized while walking up and down the Sunset Strip was pretty. However were all East Coast guys and we missed taping in New York. I look out in to the audience there and see a lot of the same people who I used to see at L’Amour’s in Brooklyn in 1986. It really is a lot of fun.

AL: Did the push to move back to NY come from you guys or from the fans?
DJ: The network controls everything. We may seem like we are in control of stuff but really we have less control than the Amish. (Laughs)

AL: You guys always seem to be having fun in front of the camera but can you tell us what it’s like behind the scenes?
DJ: There is a lot of farting going on. Not much else goes on other than listening to music while crop dusting one another. (Laughs) We usually go over notes a little bit but with all three of us being metal heads now for 35/40 years it’s easy for us to sit down and have a conversation with one another along with our guest/guests. We like to just try and stay loose. We break each other’s balls and have a good time while talking about music.

AL: Has there been one guest in particular that has stuck out as a personal favorite of yours?
DJ: There has been a bunch. I will always love the stuff we did with Brian Johnson, Lemmy and Alice Cooper. I love the classic guys as those are the bands I came up with. Lemmy is seriously like my idol! I wish he would have adopted me. As far as the television show goes I love guests who are very outspoken and who tell it like it is. The season we had Ted Nugent on and to me that’s the ultimate guest. That guy holds nothing back and shoots straight from the hip. Sometimes guys like that can be polarizing but at the same time you know you are going to watch. You can’t wait to see what they are going to say next.

AL: How much of the show would you say is scripted?
DJ: We never plan what we are going to say to one another. That was the tuff part about putting the show together was how three people were going to interview one guest. Luckily we had worked out some of those kinks on the radio over the years. I can look out the corner of my eye and see if Jim or Eddie has a question they want to ask. We have some good non-verbal cues of how we are going to sort things out. We are fans just like the people watching so the questions we ask aren’t scripted. Hopefully we are asking the stuff that fans like us want to know. My favorite interviews are always the ones where you don’t get to the questions you want to ask because things ended up going a totally different but cool way. We just save those questions for when the guest comes back next time.

AL: Can you tell us about some of the things you have going on outside of the show?
DJ: I have my second stand-up album coming out March 18th on Metal Blade Records and it’s called “Hell Bent for Laughter”. This is my second album with them and I did a lot of hard rock and metal jokes as compared to my last album. That has become such a big part of my life and it would be hard to get up on a stage and not talk about that stuff.

AL: Being that you have pretty close ties to the hard/rock metal community do you find yourself checking your material on that subject a little more now than in the past?
DJ: If something gets a laugh on stage I am going to keep doing it. When I did the Orion Festival with Metallica I did some jokes about them with James and Lars right there. If the jokes funny it’s funny and it’s nothing for anyone to get offended by. I think most people know that this stuff comes from the heart. When you are with your buddies you break each other’s balls. That’s how you show affection for one another. You never say just go up to your buddy and say “I love you” unless your drunk in a bar somewhere. (Laughs) You bust on them for 10 minutes and they know you care.

AL: You and the other guys from the show have started doing some live shows together. Do you have any of those coming up in the near future?
DJ: Jim, Eddie and I go out and do these really fun stage shows. Eddie tells a bunch of hilarious rock and roll stories and Jim and I will do some stand-up. We also do some Q&A with the audience which is a lot of fun. Sometimes we bring up special guests if the situation occurs. If people want to find out where we are going to be they can check out my website at or Follow me on Twitter @realdonjamieson

Sid Caesar, Comedy Legend, Dead at Age 91

Sid Caesar, whose live television show in the 1950s had, arguably, the greatest assembly of comedy genius’ ever assembled at one time, died today at his Los Angeles area home after a long illness. He was 91. His weekly 90 minute television program, “Your Show of Shows,” boasted the on-screen talents of Caesar, Imogene Coca, Howard Morris and Carl Reiner. The show’s writers room was filled with a virtual who’s who of comedy legends, including Mel Brooks, Selma Diamond, Neil Simon and Danny Simon. His next show, entitled “Caesar’s Hour,” boasted a staff that included Larry Gelbart and Woody Allen. The show was so beloved that it not only inspired the classic Peter O’Toole comedy “My Favorite Year,” which was produced by Mel Brooks, but Neil Simon’s long running play “Laughter on the 23rd Floor.”

Born Isaac Sidney Caesar on September 8, 1922 in Yonkers, New York, Caesar began his professional career as a saxophone player, having studied the instrument at the Julliard School of Music. After graduation he decided to try his luck as a professional musician in New York City but did not fare too well. One thing that went right for him: he met his future wife, Florence, there. They were married in July 1943. After 57 years of marriage Florence passed away in 2010.

After small roles in theatre and film he found his calling in television. In 1949 he and Imogene Coca starred in the variety program “The Admiral Broadway Review.” The show grew so popular that it was broadcast on both NBC and the Dumont Network. In fact, the show became so popular that the sponsor, Admiral Televisions, had to cancel it after 26 weeks because their factory could not keep up with the demand for new television sets. Later in life Casesar would recount how an Admiral executive told him that the company had to decide whether to build a new factory or keep sponsoring the show. They chose the cheaper option. On February 25, 1950, the first episode of “Your Show of Shows” premiered. The show ran through 1954 and was quickly followed by “Caesar’s Hour,” a similar themed show which is best remembered for the first appearance of Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner’s 2000 Year Old Man character. The show ran through 1957. For the rest of the decade Caesar would appear in several television specials.

In the 1960s he made his way to Broadway, starring in the musical “Little Me,” which boasted a script by Neil Simon and choreography by Bob Fosse. His performance, which included eight different characters and thirty-two costume changes, earned him a Tony Award nomination in 1963 for Best Leading Actor in a Musical. He lost to Zero Mostel, who earned Broadway immortality with his performance in “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” which ironically was co-written by another one of Caesar’s former writers, Larry Gelbart. That same year he and Edie Adams co-starred as a married couple searching for a buried fortune in the film “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.”

He spent the rest of the decade, and most of the 1970s, making occasional television and film appearances. In 1978 he introduced his talents to a new generation when he was hired to replace Harry Reems as Rydell High School’s Coach Calhoun in the film version of the Broadway musical, “Grease.” He later reprised the role in “Grease 2.” Other film appearances include “Silent Movie,” “Airport ‘75” and “History of the World, Part I.” In 1982 he returned to Broadway opposite Carol Channing and Tommy Lee Jones in the show “Four on a Garden.” The next year he hosted “Saturday Night Live” and received a prolonged standing ovation upon his entrance. After the show he was given a plaque naming him an honorary member of the cast. He is the only host to receive that honor.

He kept busy in the 1990s as well, appearing in “Vegas Vacation” and earning the last two of his eleven Emmy Award nominations in 1995 and 1997 for guest appearances on “Mad About You.” In his career he won two Emmy Awards.


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Bobby Moynihan and Method Man talk about FX’s new comedy “Chozen”

On Monday January 13th, FX will debut its animated comedy, Chozen from the creators of Archer and Eastbound and Down. Chozen stars Bobby Moynihan as the eponymous openly gay rapper who’s fresh out of a ten year prison sentence and looking to make it big on the music scene while getting revenge on those who put him in the slammer. I got to catch up with stars Moynihan and Method Man along with creator Grant Dekernion and executive producer Tom Brady at this year’s New York Comic Con.

Bobby Moynihan (this writer’s favorite Saturday Night Live cast member) was eager to join the cast of the show,  “I got the thing that said ‘do you want to put yourself on tape for this?’ where I had the drawing of all the characters and I saw—I was a big Archer fan—so I saw that and it was just like ‘I want to do this.’…I called my agents every single day. Like 9 o’clock in the morning, ‘hey found anything out about Chozen?’” This isn’t to say Moynihan identifies with the brash character, “he just says and does whatever he wants…he walks in the room, his sister’s having sex with somebody and he’s just like, [dropping into Chozen’s voice] ‘Ooh, you havin’ sex? Good for you!’ He’s just pumped about things. I feel like I would be like ‘Oh my god, I’m so sorry! I apologize!’ And then never talk to my sister again…Just everything he’s thinking is just out there.” The comedian did add a personal touch to how he sees Chozen spending his time in jail though. “In my mind he just spent a lot of time aggressively going after taking what he wanted and just watching Lost…I keep saying it so hopefully it will come out. I’m a weird Lost nerd…I want to do a whole episode where it’s just him in jail watching Lost.” Would Chozen then have enjoyed that drama’s finale? “YES. YES” Moynihan says emphatically of his cartoon alter ego before adding, “It was perfect, I truly loved it.”

Moynihan is also a talented improvisational comedian, notably appearing recently on IFC’s Comedy Bang! Bang! as murderous orphan Fourvel (it’s one less than Fievel). “I didn’t really have much other than the name [and] that one joke” Moynihan says, “Just being able to improvise with Scott [Aukerman] and Paul F. Tompkins was a blast.” Fortunately we’ll get to hear Moynihan improvise in Chozen as well—“I feel very very lucky. It’s a lot of fun improvising and a lot of ‘oh my god, that was crazy, don’t use that…I don’t want the people to hear the fact that I said those things!”

Method Man plays Phantasm, the villainous ex-band mate of Chozen who was responsible in setting up the drug bust that puts Chozen behind bars. The rapper maintains that the sleazy voice he lends to Phantasm “comes from a family member named Daddio…you know, he smokes these backwoods cigars and it’s gotten to the point where his voice is so low you can’t even hear him!” Despite his background however, Method Man maintains he’s not behind the musical writing of the series “since I’m playing a character and not Method Man, no, I will not” although he’s not ruling it out adding, “if they gave me a shot to, maybe.”

 Behind the songwriting, and singing voice of Chozen is creator Grant Dekernion who was asked if we can expect more musical acts to come on the show in the future, he explained: “Obviously we got Method Man which blew my mind—and that’s definitely helped us open doors. You know, we’re hoping later this season we might see some more musical acts, I think once the show comes out and people get behind it and see what it’s about, that’s definitely something we can play with in the future. But I think just a lot of people are just curious to see it.”

Both Dekernion and executive producer Tom Brady are particularly excited to be creating the show for the FX network. “Been doing this a little while and you know, I’ve been part of shows that have been on networks and different cable shows and stuff and this is the right show for the right network” says Brady. “The content, the subject matter, FX seems to invest in voices. In this case, Grant’s, from his brain. And if they buy into it, they support it, they let you grow and they nurture it.” Other FX hits include It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and The League. Of the creative teams behind those shows, Brady adds “we’ve heard them talk about how supportive FX has been and them finding what identity those shows have, so that’s been kind of cool for us to think ‘hey, maybe we could be like that.’”

Check out Chozen Monday January 13th at 10:30pm on FX.

Tim Heidecker talks about his dramatic role in “The Comedy”

Tim Heidecker is half the comedy duo, along with Eric Eric Wareheim, that is Tim and Eric. They have worked together on numerous TV series on Adult Swim like “Tom Goes to Mayor” and “Tim and Eric’s Awesome Show, Great Job!” and films like “Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie”. Tim is starring in the film “The Comedy”, which is actually sits more in the dramatic genre. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Tim about his dramatic turn in this film and also what we can expect next from him and Eric Wareheim.

Mike Gencarelli: What made you want to approach this dramatic role in “The Comedy”?
Tim Heidecker: Well, I liked the director Rick (Alverson) and I liked his work. We had a long conversation about the movie and what he wanted to do and I really liked his approach.  It just sounded like a cool and fun project to do.

MG: How did you get yourself into the character of Swanson?
TH: We worked developing the character starting from myself…and then worked from that. We sort of dressed me up like a hipster and turned off all the regulators my brain that keep me from saying nasty things. We treated it with a more classic Hollywood filmmaking sensibility. We wanted to focus more on the technical and no so dramatic, theatrical or method style of filmmaking.

MG: You are no stranger to offensive comedy, were you ever concerned about letting too much comedy through your performance?
TH: I think because the film itself is so severe, dramatic, quiet and serious. We all felt that any moments of humor will act as relief and create a nice balance. We wanted to tap into the natural sense of humor that I have and try and use that in a different kind of way.

MG: The film is still quite edgy; do you think that fans of Tim & Eric are going to dig this?
TH: I think our audience in general is a really smart, creative, artistic sensibility type of audience. The reaction from the the core audience so far has just been super positive and encouraging. They are grown-up and they can understand that we can work outside of a certain box. Frankly, it was interesting to see if we could challenge our audience to give them something different to watch.

MG: In this overall experience, what would you say was your most challenging aspect?
TH: It was a pretty pleasant experience, believe it or not. The crew made it very easy. The director and I got along very well. I think just relaxing…was my main challenge. With Tim and Eric and most of the other stuff I have done, there is a real sense of instinct to overdo things in a comedic way and be ironic on camera. The challenge was to play things in a more naturalistic and quiet way. I focused a lot on patience and keeping it small, which is something that I am not used to doing.

MG: Was all the dialogue in the film improv?
TH: Yeah, it was all improvised dialogue. There was a written conceptual aspect in the script. Like “This is where Swanson goes into a bar and becomes provocative”. What comes out of my mouth is all improvised for the most part. That is just is the way that I am comfortable working. When you are shooting quickly, using mostly master shots and with long takes, it makes for a more relaxed and comfortable environment to get natural performances.

MG: Do you see yourself pursuing more dramatic work over comedy?
TH: I am grateful for any opportunities that are presented to me. I don’t have a lot of control over that. If things are offered to me, I consider them based on quality and project that interest me. But like I said I usually don’t have a lot of control [laughs].

MG: You have worked for yourself mostly in the past, how was it taking direction from Rick Alverson?
TH: It was a relief actually for the most part. For me, I enjoyed not worrying about that end of it. I trusted Rick and the only way I thought it would work is if I let go and let him lead. After a few days, I think Rick and I were on the same page and enjoyed collaborating. I think it was helpful for him having a guy that used to come from behind the camera all the time, since I understand what he was going through. Overall, it was just a really pleasant collaboration.

MG: Tell us about you have planned next?
TH: Eric and I are currently sitting around writing a mini-series idea for Adult Swim. We are still working out the details for it. But we want to comeback and return to TV next year for sure. So far we have some great new material in the works.


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Film Review “The Comedy”

Directed by: Rick Alverson
Starring: Tim Heidecker, Eric Wareheim, James Murphy, Gregg Turkington, Kate Lyn Sheil, Alexia Rasmussen, Jeff Jensen
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Distributed by: Tribeca Film
Running time: 94 minutes

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Right off the bat, you see Tim Heidecker starring in a film called “The Comedy” and expect this hilarious film like their recent “Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie”. Well you will be thrown for a real loop when you find out that this is actually not a comedy at all and very much a drama – well maybe a dramedy, since there is some funny parts. Fans of Tim and Eric though, be prepared since even though Eric Wareheim appears in the film, this is not a Tim and Eric project. But that doesn’t mean that it is a bad thing. Tim really gets a chance to shine in this film and gives a really wonderful dramatic performance, yes I am being serious here! “The Comedy” is a really well written and executed film.

Official Premise: On the cusp of inheriting his father’s estate, Swanson (Tim Heidecker, “Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!”) is a man with unlimited options. An aging hipster in Brooklyn, he spends his days in aimless recreation with like-minded friends (“Tim & Eric” co-star Eric Wareheim, LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy and comedian Gregg Turkington a.k.a.“Neil Hamburger”) in games of comic irreverence and mock sincerity. As Swanson grows restless of the safety a sheltered life offers him, he tests the limits of acceptable behavior, pushing the envelope in every way he can.

The film was an official selection at 2012 Sundance Film Festival and I have been dying to see this film ever since. It is being distributed by Tribeca Film (one of my favs), is available now on VOD and set for theatrical release on November 9, 2012. This film really deserves a lot of attention and I hope it gets Tim recognized for his fantastic performance. There is still some raunch material included here  from his days of “Tim & Eric” but it is blended in so well that it works and doesn’t overtake the drama. This is highly recommended and easily one of the best indie films that I have seen all year! Tribeca Film has done it again and gave life to a film that would have otherwise gone a miss.

Rick Alverson talks about directing Tim Heidecker in “The Comedy”

Rick Alverson is the director of the film “The Comedy”.  The film stars Tim Heidecker, known best for “Tim and Eric’s Awesome Show, Great Job!” & “Tom Goes to Mayor”, taking on his first dramatic role. Rick took out some time to chat with Media Mikes about the film and its serious underlying themes.

Mike Gencarelli: Your new film is called “The Comedy” but tell us about the serious themes underlying in the film?
Rick Alverson: The initial plan was to make a film about desensitization. It was a movie about the desire for an idiosyncratic and creative interaction with language and people. An idea of flirtation with the world, antagonism, desire to both connect and potentially irate or change or alter the world or be altered by it. There is a lot of underlying interest in inertness and mortality. Yeah, it is all there [laughs].

MG: How did you end up working with Tim Heidecker with his first dramatic role?
RA: Tim has a very unique set of skills. He has this capacity for a very particular kind of social engagement that I knew would, and did, work very well for the role. He was kind enough to come in, since we did not know each other prior. He saw my previous film “New Jerusalem” and him and Eric were interested in my work after that. We managed to portray Swanson in a way that is very volatile and most importantly ambiguous. It lightly straddles the line between the passive and the antagonistic and between humor and pathos, I suppose.

MG: The film still has some unsettling moments, were you concerned about offending?
RA: Well, that was impulse of the project. It is about the desire of an individual to push envelopes and to activate, whether it is disgust, it is pity or anything. There is a perfect parallel between the way the movie should act on an audience and the way the character acts on the other characters in the film. There is a symbiotic nature between the form and the content that way. It is strange to me how some individuals have been repelled by the movie, which actually isn’t a bad response. I would think to be repulsed by something would mean that it is serving a kind of larger purpose. I think, as American mainstream film-goers  we are used to being playcated and self-affirmed by our entertainment. We would our entertainment to do a very specific thing. We have been conditioned for that. Literally when that entertainment fucks with us, we get angry. This is a very gulf between what some people describe as the institutions of fine art and the mass-marketable, consumable enterprise of commodity entertainment. People go into museums to be perplexed. People go to theaters to be massaged. I think that needs to be shaken up a bit.

MG: This film kind of sticks with you after viewing; was that your intention?
RA: That is what I got to see movies for. If I am going to spend my time and money in something it should change me. It is worth you money that way. It is funny how people go into movies that advertise recreational escape and expect to have a good time.

MG: Tell us about the production; what was your most challenging aspect?
RA: Well, working against New York City. I mean with trying to work with a landscape that is so emblazed and cauterized in our mind as this particular place. I had to figure out how to literally film in that place and do it justice and respect, while at the same time not to be redundant. That was quite a challenge. I think the other challenge – probably the biggest challenge was finding those particular notes and walking that tight rope between the engagement of the thing and the dystopian kind of awfulness of the things, like the antagonism, cruelty, disrespect and obscenity. How do you do two or three things at once while making it palatable to the characters and also palatable to the audiences if the film was couched as a comedy entirely. Also how to also show some real distance where we recognize that as uncomfortable facts. I don’t know but it is a real tight rope to walk. People love to go to movies and to hate the bad guys and love the good guys. I think that it doesn’t help anyone outside the theater and we should likely be the other way around sometimes.

MG: Tell us about what you have planned next after “The Comedy”?
RA: I am making a movie called “Clement” that takes place in 1868. It deals with the early clan and freedmen communities in rural Virginia. It is kind of an anti-epic cruelty tale. It is something that looks at the literal root causes of the dystopian world that we see in “The Comedy”.


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DVD Review “Shaquille O’Neal Presents: All Star Comedy Jam – Live From Orlando”

Starring: Gary Owen, Capone, Lil’ Duval, Tony Roberts and Jay Pharoah
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Lions Gate
Release Date: October 9, 2012
Run Time: 67 minutes

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

“Shaquille O’Neal Presents: All Star Comedy Jam – Live From Orlando” is the fourth time that Shaq has presented these hilarious comedy specials. In the previous specials he has showcased the following amazing talent including, Cedric the Entertainer, Kevin Hart, Tommy Davidson, Mo’Nique and D.L. Hughley. This time around Gary Owen known best for his roles in the film “Think Like A Man” and TV series, Tyler Perry’s “House of Payne”, hosts this latest installment. Shaq has also personally handpicked some of stand-up comedy’s most talented comedians including Capone, Lil’ Duval, Tony Roberts and Jay Pharoah. If you are looking for some laugh-out-loud laughs…look no further.

Media Mikes had the privilege to chat with Gary Owen and he is one of comedy’s best comedians, click here to check it out!  “All-Star Comedy Jam – Live from Orlando” was filmed at Hard Rock Live in front of a live audience in Orlando FL and you can just feel the energy during this show.  The only bad thing about this release is that it is just over an hour, I would have loved to see this expanded longer. I would have also expected extended sets on the extras.  Though they are also not available on the extras. The special features included are a “Backstage Jam” behind-the-scenes featurette, which is some fun stuff. Lastly there are also some trailers included.  Hey Shaq, when’s the next one coming out?

Brian Doyle-Murray talks about TBS’ new comedy series, “Sullivan & Son”

Brian Doyle-Murray is the older brother of actor Bill Murray.  He is also a “Saturday Night Live” veteran and has appeared in many films including  “Groundhog Dog”, “Wayne’s World & “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”.  Brian took out some time to chat with Media Mikes about co-starring as Hank in TBS’ new comedy series, “Sullivan & Son” and what we can expect from the first season.

Mike Gencarelli: What drew you to work on TBS’ new comedy series, “Sullivan & Son”?
Brian Doyle-Murray: I had worked with Rob Long, one of the executive producers, on the TV show “Love and Money”. I really like him and thought he was a sharp guy. He is really good at what he does. when I read the script, I thought it was time for a show like this. I worked with TBS before also and I really liked them as a network as well. They give shows a chance and also willing to take a chance on shows. Once I did the pilot, I knew it was going to be great. The chemistry was just so fantastic.

MG: Tell us about working with this amazing cast?
MG: Steve Byrne is one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met. Dan Lauria is just so great. I had no idea how hysterical Jodi Long was. She has some of the funniest lines. Dan and her both are theater mavens, they got the chops. Christine Ebersole and I worked together on “Saturday Night Live” doing the news, many years ago. She is such a classy chantoose. She has two Tony’s and here she is playing this cougar tramp and is just hilarious. Vivian Bang and Valerie Azlynn are beautiful and also really knock it out of the park. We also have more stand up’s per square inch for any show on television [laughs]. Besides Steve, we have Owen Benjamin, Steve Wood Jr., Ahmed Ahmed and Brian Scolaro. Brian is so subtle, it is like he is not even there and then he just kills it. Owen has some of the most amazing energy…for a slacker [laughs]. Roy does these great prank calls, which are very funny. He is real understated but very powerful and when he hits it, he does it right on the head. Ahmed has been all over the world and is a great addition to the cast. We have also had some great guest cast as well. Billy Gardell pops up in the show. I worked with him on “Yes, Dear”. So I believe we are really lucky to have such a great round cast.

MG: Being a veteran actor on the show, you find you are able to fit in among all the young cast?
MG: They were very kind to an old man. I enjoyed working with them. What settles it for me is “Am I having a good time doing this?” and “Do I like who I am working with?”. There is a lot of laughter on the set. People really enjoy coming to work. Believe me I have been on some when they don’t [laughs].

MG: What do you feel that your character Hank brings to the show? What do you like most?
MG: He is like somebody we all know I think like an Uncle or something. He is kind of unaware that he is offensive. His bias is so ingrained though that even when the people he offends are his friends, he doesn’t get it. He will use a term for his friends ethnicity affectionately so the friend instead of punching him out just kind of sigha and saya “That’s Hank”. I think there are a lot of people out there like that. They just kind don’t get it.

MG: What do you like most about working in front of a live audience?
MG: Well that is instant gratification for something that is funny. I have a pretty good idea what is funny but if you do it twice in one day in front of a live audience. They will let you know if they like it or not. We honed it in by the time we do it finally. So it works well.

MG: Sticking with TV, tell us what you like most about doing voice work like on shows like “Motorcity and “Spongebob Squarepants”?
MG: You don’t have to shave [laughs]. You don’t even have to take a bath. The mic doesn’t know if you stink or not. You just show up and don’t even have to memorize anything [laughs]. No, it is really fun work. I really enjoy voice work.

MG: Starting with “Saturday Night Live” to iconic roles in “Groundhog Dog”, “Wayne’s World and “Christmas Vacation”, what do you enjoy most about comedy?
MG: Well nothing compares to getting a laugh. You have to assume it on something like voice work. On “Sullivan & Son”, you know you are getting the laughs. It is very rewarding and very satisfying. Working with these people, the process is more enjoyable than the result even. Just the act of doing it. Cracking each other up is fun.

MG: What else do you have in the cards upcoming?
BDM: Besides this? Well, we just wrapped. I am trying now to match the circadian rhythms of my cats. That is I am trying to sleep 22 hours a day [laughs]. So, that is my goal.

Steve Lemme talks Broken Lizard, new film “I Heart Shakey” and comedy tour with Kevin Heffernan

Steve Lemme is known best for being a member of the comedy troupe Broken Lizard.  He has co-star in “Super Troopers”, “Beerfest” and “Club Dread”.  He is taking the lead role in the upcoming 3D family film “I Heart Shakey”.  Steve is also currently touring comedy clubs with Broken Lizard co-member Kevin Heffernan.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Steve about his new film and also his current comedy tour.

Mike Gencarelli: “I Heart Shakey” looks like sweet family film and a sharp right turn from your work with Broken Lizard, what did you enjoy most about it?
Steve Lemme: Actually, I can honestly say it was the best acting experience I have had. When we made the Broken Lizard films, it’s been an ensemble. Right off the bat, we got to the set and I got to rehearsals and realized I had 90 pages of disalogue to learn. Suddenly I had a much greater responsible because I was “the guy”. It then became aware to me that I would be acting with only a 9-year old girl and a dog. The conversation I had with the director was that I was going to have to be pillar of strength and experience here. In someway, I think I grew up a little bit. With the Broken Lizard movies, you always have to be improving and acting on your toes. I think you have to be more so with this film. You find yourself right in the middle of your lines and all of the sudden the dog pulls you off in a different direction. You have to put a greater amount of focus into this. It is also harder not to do comedy certain times. Overall it was just a great experience.

MG: As a new parent yourself, did that contribute to your playing J.T. O’Neil?
SL: The truth is we did the movie before my baby was born or my wife was pregnant. So some people have said that this experience gave me the desire to be a dad…and I wouldn’t deny it. The girl that play my daughter in the film, Riley, after a week or two I became very naturally protective of her. We were spending 14 hours a day together and we bonded. So the running joke is she made me want to be a dad.

MG: You’ve known director Kevin Cooper since college and collaborated with Broken Lizard, how was it reuniting?
SL: We met when he was in NYU film school and Broken Lizard has just started. I acted in his first two student films. He went to Hollywood then and worked for Michael Bay and Jim Cameron. He then moved back to Chicago and became a professor of film production at Columbia College. When we were kids we always talked about making our careers about working together and makings tons of movies together. We just bonded in that way. He called me up a few years ago and sent me the script for “Shakey” and asked me to play the lead. It is a kids movie and so far from the stuff I have done. Overall it was a great experience for me and also a challenge. It was a low-budget feature being shot in 3D and with a dog.

MG: How was it shooting your first film in 3D?
SL: I had mixed feeling about it honestly. In terms of the distribution of the film, since 3Dmovies are so popular right now. But what we are finding it is actually hindering our distribution. Then people are thinking to themselves it was going to cost much more to market and cost the audience more as well. You are then going to be competing with the Pixar movies for 3D screens and be bumped in a heartbeat. On a shoestring budget, shooting 3D is such a time constraint. You are really at the mercy of the 3D cameras.

MG: Was it exciting to work 80’s legends Steven Guttenberg and Beverly D’Angelo?
SL: Well I only got to work with Beverly for one day. In the film her character and my character don’t get along, she doesn’t like me. So I think she was a method actor…so in between takes she would just sort of glare at me [laughs]. So I didn’t enjoy my day with Beverly very much. But Guttenberg and I, we had a great time shooting together. We are both very immature guys. He was in “Police Academy” movies and I was in “Super Troopers”. We really had a blast working together.

MG: You also reunite in this film with Philippe Brenninkmeyer from “Super Troopers”; planned or not?
SL: They were looking for local German actor, who has a good sense of humor. I told them I knew a guy but they were going to have to bring him down from Los Angeles. He showed up on set and just nailed it. He is one of the best characters in the movie. Of course awesome to work with again.

MG: Tell us about your currently comedy tour with Kevin Heffernan?
SL: Broken Lizard started off as a stand-up comedy group. We wanted to do more of that with sketches and that culminated a few years ago with a Comedy Central special. Kevin and I decided afterwards that we liked it so much that we wanted to do more. The problem with the Broken Lizard tour is that we each only got like ten minutes of time. I felt I had a lot more to say and Kevin felt the same. Jay wanted to get back to directing TV. Paul was going off to direct a script he did. Eric was focusing on doing motivation speaking. Kevin and I decided to put together this show and have been touring for the last year and a half. We are going to shooting this show as well for a special during our stop in San Francisco. We are having a blast.

MG: What do you have planned next either solo or with Broken Lizard?
SL: Kevin and I have been writing a lot together. We just sold a show to NBC for us to act/write in. On the side, when the group is not together, Kevin and I have taken it up to write a new Broken Lizard script. Our agent is telling us we are going to hit every comedy club in the country. So after a year and a half, we still haven’t been to the same place twice. So we are just building our stand up reputation and really enjoying it.

James Lesure talks about new TBS comedy series “Men at Work”

James Lesure appears in TBS’s new comedy series “Men at Work”.  The series was created by Breckin Meyer and James co-stars along with Danny Masterson, Michael Cassidy and Adam Busch.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with James about what we can expect from this new show.

Mike Gencarelli: What drew you to the TBS’ new series “Men at Work”?
James Lesure: The script, written by Breckin Meyer. Once I got the pilot, I responded and said I wanted to be apart of it. I have known Breckin for years but really only athletically. We played basketball together for years. I had know idea he could write so well. I am a big fan of his work as an actor and now also as a writer.

JL: What do you like most about it, Mike?
MG: Honestly, I like the dynamic between the guys. You guys all play off each other. This show really works well with that.

MG: You’ve worked on many TV series like “Las Vegas” and “Mr. Sunshine”, how does a show like this compare?
JL: Right now, I would have to say the speed we do it. Currently we are filming in front of a live audience, so its like we are putting on a play each week. We get the script and then get about three days to put it down. So that is a bit of an adjustment for me.

MG: You seem to have natural comedic timing, how do you prepare for the role?
JL: Mike, listen keep the compliments coming because I appreciate them [laughs]. I have to give a lot of credit to the writers. When I get the scripts, they just make me laugh and that is a good sign. It is up to us then to just take the words make it deeper and better. So, that is my goal.

MG: Any room for improv throughout shooting?
JL: They let us fly off, here and there, with an ad lib and I appreciate that. The producers are open for us to be collaberative. It is a special kind of work environment we have. I just hope we can do some great things with it and do it for a while.

MG: What has been your highlight on the show so far this season?
JL:  It’s been working with this cast, Adam Busch, Danny Masterson and Michael Cassidy. They make me laugh on and off the set. It’s kind of nice to have that geniue chemistry and respect. I respect them and really enjoy what they are doing. I also have to give a shout out to TBS and Sony because they have been treating us very well. Thus far the whole experience has been very great.

MG: What else can we expect from season one?
JL: I know we got an episode about a special toliet [laughs]. They are blending together right now. But let me just tell you that everytime I read a new script, I’ve been laughing so hopefully that will carry over to the viewers.