Tag: Comedy

James Pietragallo and Jimmie Whisman’s CRIME IN SPORTS Podcast and Why Comedians Can Do Almost Anything

A lot of athletes make mistakes.  Big mistakes.  Plaxico Burress went into a strip club with a gun in his sweatpants for some reason.  Steve Howe did nearly all of the cocaine.  Darryl Strawberry did the rest of it.  James Pietragallo and Jimmie Whisman tell the stories of wayward athletes on their Crime in Sports podcast.

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GWS Companion: The Comedians of Budd Friedman’s THE IMPROV

You may have read my writing craft essay about Budd Friedman’s autobiography/biography of The Improv.  It occurred to me that many folks may not have seen the work of some of the standups who figure into the book.  That isn’t funny at all.  So here’s a journey through a very, very small fraction of the comedians who figure into the story of The Improvisation.

Robert Klein

Richard Lewis

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Budd Friedman’s THE IMPROV and Leading with Your Strongest Material

In the mood to watch some great standup comedy?  I’ve compiled a GWS Companion that features 20 of the comedians who figure into the long and storied history of The Improv.  Click here if you wish to laugh.

There are so many reasons that I love comedy, but I think the primary one is that comedians have always been the true conscience of a society.  The court jester is the only person who can speak truth to the king.  Comedians push boundaries and shape how we view the language.  (Just this morning, I heard an NPR commentator mention how a politician was using rhetoric that “ratcheted the tension to 11.”)

So much of today’s comedy can be traced to Budd Friedman and his Improv, the first comedy club of its kind.  The brick wall in the background?  The cutthroat competition and dysfunctional friendships between comics?  That was all him.  The Improv was the incubator for comics like Jerry Seinfeld, Richard Lewis, Andy Kaufman, Elayne Boosler…everyone. Continue Reading

Al Gini’s THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING FUNNY and the Connection Between Freedom and Creativity

Ladies and gentlemen, when the Founding Fathers sat down in a sweltering room in Philadelphia to devise a new system of government, they had a lot of weighty decisions to make.  They needed to ensure that the people maintained the power, but that government at all levels could ensure domestic tranquility and protect the general welfare.  They had to decide what it meant for the people to have representation and how best to make it as fair as possible.

Most of all, they needed to decide which rights would be guaranteed by the government.  Think of that word choice: rights.  Not “privileges.”  A right is guaranteed to you, no matter what.  A privilege must be earned.  Then they needed to decide which right deserved to be mentioned first.  What did they come up with?

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Isn’t the First Amendment beautiful?  Those few words are the most important in the entire document because they protect all of the other rights and laws that make up our system of government.  Think about it: you’re not happy with the American health care system and you want to tell your elected official that a change is in order?  Can’t do that without the First Amendment… Continue Reading