Funny People

Are you familiar with the website Funny or Die? It’s a comedy site developed by Adam McKay and Will Ferrell where people upload uproarious videos that get voted on – those not deemed funny are sentenced to death (or at least the site’s “crypt”). The first video I remember seeing was the Landlord skit featuring Farrell and a barb-tongued toddler, but since then tonnes of celebrities have contributed all kinds of crazy stuff. There are no rules in the interweb, and Funny or Die is where famous people let loose. Like, major looseness.

Funny or Die is such a machine now that it’s actually spawned its own comedy festival, dubbed the Oddball Festival, and it’s been running for 3 years now. I happened to catch it during its inaugural run 3 years ago in Chicago when it was co-headlined by Flight of the Conchords (!) and Dave Chappelle in his return to stand-up. The night before we saw him, he was in Hartford, where the audience literally drowned him out with heckling and shouts of “White power!”. Chappelle walked off and then treated us to quite an anti-Hartford diatribe, including his fervent wish that North Korea would bomb Hartford. It was an epic set.

oddballThis year the festival is being co-headlined by Aziz Ansari and Amy Schumer. There’s a million other brilliant comedians on the bill as well (including Jay Pharaoh, Michael Che, and fucking Nick Kroll!) and we’re lucky enough to see all of them. Amy Schumer is having quite a year (if you haven’t read our review of Trainwreck yet, I assure you, we were entertained) but Aziz is our man.

I first came across Aziz Ansari in yet another Judd Apatow movie: Funny People (although in a little dose of kismet, if I’d only been paying attention, he’d previously appeared in an episode of Flight of the Conchords). Adam Sandler plays a movie star who copes with his illness and impending death by returning to his stand-up roots. He enlists the help of Seth Rogan to write jokes and “assist” him. I like this movie for a lot of reasons. Like seeing Sandler do something with some emotional depth. I LOVED seeing baby untitledSandler doing his earliest bits (he and Apatow were actually college roommates, and guess who filmed heaps of footage! – baby Ben Stiller and Janeane Garofalo also appear, if you squint). I loved Jason Schwartzman as a sleazy sitcom star, and Jonah Hill as a competitive bitch, and Eric Bana popping up in this after the little ode to Eric Bana in Apatow’s Knocked Up was just the shit, and I really REALLY loved this explosive unknown stand-up act who steals scenes: Aziz Ansari. Well, technically, not Aziz. Aziz developed a character named Randy for the film, but found him to be so well-liked and compelling that he’d often slip into the Randy stuff during his own shows.

Aziz doesn’t do a lot of movies but you may know him as Tom on Parks and Recreation (or will no doubt come to know him through his upcoming Netflix series, Master of None). He did make small appearances in Get Him to the Greek, 30 Minutes or Less (funniest part of the movie, if you ask me), and This is the End, proving just how incestuous the Apatow crew is (and for good measure, he’s also appeared on The League, and The Kroll Show). It’s a small world and Aziz Ansari is getting closer and closer to owning it.

We’ve seen Aziz before and love love love his stand-up. In fact, we saw him serendipitously last month at the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal (where we also saw Chappelle). That particular night we were actually there to see Alan Cumming, who was fabulous, but got wind of a surprise pop-up show by Ansari, who wasn’t scheduled to appear. Turns out, he was working on material for the Oddball show and wanted a test audience. It was extremely polished for a so-called dry run, and funny as hell, so we’re totally primed to see him again this weekend, and with so much other talent, there’s no way we can lose.

Which funny people are your favs?

Advertisements

26 thoughts on “Funny People

  1. reocochran

    I loved “Train Wreck” and even language and nudity would not bring me to say not ot watch it. It is an honest look at relationships and growth in characters. I live Amy Schumer!
    Aziz is definitely a great comedian and I enjoyed and laughed at his and other roles in “Funny People” film.
    Jay, I love Mindy Kalinga and really chuckle at her character in her television show, “The Mindy Project.” Another hilarious female is Wanda Sykes (do I have that right?) And her chemistry with Julia Louise Dreyfuss in “The New Old Christine” show. Her “under her breath muttering” comments made the movie. She is stuck being Jane Fonda’s assistant in, “Monster in Law” which made me appreciate her a lot. She sticks up for gays in ads that say, “Quit saying That’s so gay!” 🙂 🙂

    Like

    Reply
  2. J.

    I don’t tend to watch an awfy lot of comedy. Don’t know what it is, but I find a lot of stand-up to be a bit … samey? I do like the odd show, though – love Curb Your Enthusiasm and Flight of the Conchords. Waiting on that new season of Curb. Cause it’s coming. Just taking a while.

    Like

    Reply
  3. fragglerocking

    Not a fan of comedy, and I guess a lot of it doesn’t travel well. Had to switch the youtube clip off 😀 as the commentary by the 2 guys was really annoying, wanted to hear what was going on in the ‘film’ with the potty mouth baby 🙂

    Like

    Reply
    1. Jay Post author

      Well that’s my fault for posting the wrong clip. But that skit is just the thing that started the site. There’s thousands of videos on the site and I promise lots are hilarous.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  4. Aneta

    Not sure if you’ve heard of him but Carl Barron is quite funny…he’s Australian and makes fun of himself a lot but he is quite hilarious. Also Dane Cook was quite a bit of a favourite of mine..which apparently about 98% of everyone I know hates him- I found him insanely hilarious!

    Like

    Reply
    1. Jay Post author

      Oh thanks, I haven’t heard of him.
      I did recently come across someone I believe to be Aussie – Joel Creasey? Young guy. Really made us laugh.

      Like

      Reply
      1. Aneta

        i’ve seen him mentioned a bit but haven’t actually watched any of his stuff…might have to get around to doing that 🙂

        Like

  5. Tom

    Good to see you praise Sandler for his depth in Funny People. He showed a different side to him that, quite inexplicably, is far too rarely made available to the viewing public. I have no idea why he continues doing his terrible Happy Madison films when he’s obviously got talent and at least more range than most are giving him credit for (i.e. his performance in Punch Drunk Love is always skipped over in favor of the bulk of his resume, which is unfortunate).

    Like

    Reply
    1. Jay Post author

      Very true. I do like the guy. And yeah, he really got stuck in a rut with his films. And I get it – they do actually make him millions of dollars. But they haven’t been funny in 10 years, maybe 15? Not consistently funny anyway. But he can do other stuff. He does need a solid director, and I think having his friend write for him really helped. Same thing with Spanglish – loved him there – and they just happen to be real life neighbours!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
    1. Jay Post author

      I got to see Nick Offerman on Broadway! And Matt caught him at Just for Laughs. Solid guy. I love his writing too. Demetri Martin is a favourite of mine also. We’ve definitely seen him live more than once. Always a great show – I love when he “sings”.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  6. Christopher

    I think I’ve unfairly given this one a pass, but then I had no idea Aziz Ansari was in it. I’m still upset that he did a show in Nashville a couple of years ago that I didn’t even know about until afterward. But then it was very spur-of-the-moment: it was announced the same day it was happening, and no tickets were sold–people were just let in as they showed up. He was trying out new material, something that’s got to be tough for an established performer. A polished set takes a lot of time.
    Every once in a while I go back and watch the movie Punchline with Sally Field and a young Tom Hanks. And while I get the criticism that the stand-up material isn’t funny what always appeals to me is how it captures just how competitive and unforgiving stand-up can be, and almost conveys how lonely it is.

    Like

    Reply
  7. Pingback: Top 10 Actors Who Play Assholes | ASSHOLES WATCHING MOVIES

  8. Pingback: Canada 150 | ASSHOLES WATCHING MOVIES

Leave a Reply to Problems With Infinity Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s