comedy Archive

Rhapsodizing with Rick Wakeman

Legendary keyboardist Rick Wakeman is perhaps best known for his work with Yes, a group he has joined and quit at least five times since the early ’90s. But the classically-trained musician also has a staggeringly large catalog of solo albums. Beginning with his debut release (1973’s The Six Wives of Henry VIII) and continuing

Asheville Improv Comedy Fest: Planning to Improvise

Improvisation is performance without a net: there’s no script and no direction. The actors onstage succeed or fail on the strength of their quick wit and ability to work together. And when improvisation works, it showcases creativity in its rawest, most spontaneous form. With a goal of getting Asheville on the map as a destination

Welcome to Cadillac Baby’s Show Lounge: The Bea & Baby Boxed Set

From the perspective of crate-diggers – amateur and professional music archivists alike – one of the great benefits of the digital age has been the rescuing of obscure recordings. Against the backdrop of the recently revealed 2008 Universal fire in which countless audio masters were lost, it’s some comfort to discover that the catalog of

Televisionary: Josh Mills discusses TV Comedy Pioneer Ernie Kovacs (Part Two)

Continued from Part One … My first exposure to Kovacs was the PBS retrospective series, which I guess was in the late ’70s. Yeah. This record came out in ’76. It was nominated for a Grammy in ‘77 for Comedy Album of the Year. And then, the same year, ‘77, PBS showed The Best of

Televisionary: Josh Mills discusses TV Comedy Pioneer Ernie Kovacs (Part One)

There was no precedent for the comedy of Ernie Kovacs. A pioneering figure in the early days of television, Kovacs brought a bizarre kind of comedy – mostly verbal, but with a visual component as well – to the black-and-white screens of the 1950s. A half century-plus later, his material is still bizarre. Recently, Omnivore

Comics Drawn to the Magnetic

Comedy is serious business. Developing a stand-up routine that feels spontaneous takes a great deal of effort, and when a performer is onstage with little more than a microphone and a spotlight, there’s nowhere to hide. Four accomplished comics – two from Western North Carolina and two based in Colorado – bravely brought their humorous

Video Roundup 2018

Covering DVDs and Blu-Rays takes more time than reviewing albums; I have to set up in my living room, with a recliner, a couple of cats and (generally) a good Scotch In order to do so. So with a general yet heartfelt apology for the delayed nature thereof, here’s my take on five titles released

Album Review: Mel Henke — 77 Sunset Strip-per

For a lot of Americans in the late 1950s and ‘60s, jazz wasn’t something they went to clubs to hear. If they heard it at all, jazz was often presented in the context of television and film theme music. The brash, hard-swinging sounds of big band jazz lent an exuberant (and wordlessly carefree) vibe to

Album Review: Pocket Fishrmen – The Greatest Story Ever Told

Wow; here’s a weird one. Imagine, if you will, that Dead Kennedys were a comedy band. One from Austin, Texas. Now imagine that they stayed together for three decades, making bratty songs with provocative titles (“Amy Carter,” “Mommanatrix,” “”Flaccid is the Night,” “Priapus Power,” “Go Go Saddam Hussein” … you get the idea. Now imagine

Best of 2016: Interviews

In 2016 alone, I’ve interviewed more than 140 artists; that’s nearly half the number I interviewed in the decade prior to this year. I hope 2017 will be at least as busy; I find my conversations with creatives extremely rewarding. I’ve learned a few things along the way, and one of the most important realizations