Paul Mooney Jr. (Victor Dean) Interview by Justin Morgan

Paul Mooney Jr Collage
1.) The character Paul Mooney Jr. is done as an homage to comedy legend Paul Mooney. Mooney is known for writing and performing in both stand-up and sketch comedy. Was he your main inspiration to create and develop Black Bull Entertainment? Could you explain a bit of his influence?

 Paul Mooney & the PMJ (Paul Mooney Jr) brand wasn’t the initial inspiration to creating Black Bull Entertainment, though it became the catalyst for me in understanding the importance in doing so.  In 2005, I began to option my ideas within the Hollywood entertainment circuit to various studios, directors and production companies and quickly realized I had to protect and legitimize my work.  After developing, producing, writing and editing each PMJ show (and then seeing the response from my followers), it became clear that I needed to formalize the work I created.

But when it comes to my comedic writing –  yes, I’m certainly inspired by the quick witt, racial and political rants of the legend that is Mooney, and for me as an actor he was the inspiration to challenge me to increase my range.

 

2.) Mooney based much of his material around race issues around the world. Some audiences find this controversial. Is this something that you feel strongly about and want to express in your own material? Why or why not?

Oh yeah!  When creating “The Weekend Update with Paul” parody I wanted to address the up’s and down’s of Pop Cultural in the vain of a younger Mooney that grew up in the 80′s. But I’m no Mooney especially when it comes to his writing genius so I wanted the performance to fill in the gaps.

 

3.) Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor and Redd Foxx all had stand up material either written, ghost written or contributed to by Mooney. He continues to make waves as a Stand-up in his own right. As an influence, have you ever been inspired to perform stand-up? If so, how does it suit you compared to sketch work?

I have to say that I’ve never had the urge to do stand-up.  I’m a born/trained actor not comedian and you have to be born a comedian.  That’s why the real comedians run in a small circle watching actors playing stand up. I respect the art too well to play stand-up.

 

4.) How did other sketch/online comedy influence you? Were there specific teams, companies, shows or organizations that you followed to help you develop your own specific comedic tastes? How did they shape your comedy palate? [Read more...]

Sully. The Terrible Bartender. – KOKOMO

 sully the bartender

 

Comedy Rants  columnist Justin Morgan had finished basic training at the Upright Citizens Brigade Training Center in New York, and was just accepted into the advanced sketch writing program. He was working television production on the IFC show “Bunk” with some funny people and they decided to get together under a common moniker and make a company … KOKOMO was born.

This sketch, Sully, wound up being kind of a sudden thing. They had booked the Creek and The Cave, an indie comedy venue in Long Island City, for a much more complex sketch but at the last minute several cast members couldn’t make it. So Justin sat down and wrote a character sketch that could fit their setting. It wasn’t written conventionally. But that’s part of the charm.

 

Dave Hill: The Comedyrants Interview by Danny Gallagher

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Dave Hill, a native of Cleveland, Ohio, originally worshipped at the altar of the rock gods and became a consummate guitar player. He made a name for himself in the New York, Los Angeles and British comedy club scenes and writes with the proficiency of a professional journalist for several newspapers and magazines that even the illiterate would recognize. His reporting and journalism work have earned him a regular contributing spot on the public radio powerhouse “This American Life.” He also has one of the funniest Twitter accounts on the web that will make you forget what a huge waste of time Twitter can be in the hands of the average, humorless bastard. 

Dave Hill would like you to know that he knows Dick Cavett and Malcolm Gladwell, both of whom provided quotes for his new book “Tasteful Nudes…and Other Misguided Attempts at Personal Growth and Validation” due out May 22nd from St. Martin’s Press.

Hill spoke to Comedyrants about how he combined his talents for comedy and rock to become an awesome physical force of enlightenment and entertainment, the dress code of the “Dave Hill style” and how he developed a rabid obsession for Norwegian Black Metal.

Where do you find your wardrobe?

Where do I find my wardrobe?  Ideally on the floor of a sexy, sexy lady’s apartment.  Ha- that is a joke I just made up in my spare time.  Anyway, I buy a lot of my clothes in London when I’m over there doing shows.  People just dress better over there in general, so it’s easier to find good stuff.  I like stuff from Paul Smith, Vivienne Westwood, and Merc the best.  I can’t tell if I sound like a total penis so far in this interview.  I think it’s hard to not sound like a penis when talking about clothes if you’re a dude.  But I will continue anyway.  Another thing with shopping for clothes is that I almost never pay more than 50% of retail.  I try to wait for sales.  I usually only pay full price for stuff like underwear (I wear the cheap kind because I figure by the time anyone sees it, it’s too late for them to turn back).  Occasionally I’ll buy a nice pair of shoes or jeans because, if they are well made, they will last a long time and be totally worth it, by which I mean it will lead to tons and tons of sex and the occasional free drink or brunch invite.

How would you describe the Dave Hill style and is there a better name for it than “the Dave Hill style”?

I would describe the Dave Hill style as “slightly too tight and preferably velvet” or “a guy from Cleveland just trying to dress well enough to distract from his face.”  I like my clothes but I usually think they would look much better on someone else.  I have heard people say I’m a bit of dandy but I don’t think I’m nearly dainty enough for that.  You can’t be from Cleveland and truly be a dandy.  It’s just not possible.  I get a polar fleece for Christmas pretty much every year, which keeps me grounded.  Sometimes I’ll put it on and walk around the neighborhood so I can feel what it’s like to be a normal person.

How does someone become so connected into the alternative NYC comedy scene as you have?

I can’t tell if I’m all that well connected or not.  I do have Todd Barry’s phone number, so I feel pretty good about that.  Generally speaking, though, I think the comedy world is a lot like high school- you run into everyone at some point or another and hopefully no one will end up stuffing you into a locker, pushing you down a flight of stairs, or throwing something at your head.  Most comedians are really nice, so a lot of times I will go and get a soup or salad with them.

What would you say is the highlight of your career besides this interview?

This interview is definitely up there, but I’d say any time I get to do stuff with Dick Cavett, one of my absolute heroes, is always a highlight.  I’ve had him on my Dave Hill Explosion show a few times, he’s done my podcast, and we just shot a video together.  I even went to his house once, which almost caused a seizure (in me, I mean.  He seemed totally fine).  I can’t believe I know him.  Every time I talk to him I’m thinking “Holy shit- Dick Cavett!” and just trying to hold it together the whole time.

Another highlight was performing at Sing Sing prison for 300 inmates.  They were all maximum security violent felons – murderers, rapists, stuff like that.  I guess it was kind of like a comedy version of Outward Bound or something.  I was terrified going into but I ended up having a really nice time in the end.  I can’t wait to go back.  Prison is so underrated.

What would you say is the low point of your career besides this interview?

As for low points of my career, depending on my mood or how much I’ve had to drink or whatever, almost any day could seem like a low point depending on how you look at it.  Show business is a cruel mistress.  I feel lucky to be able to do what I do for a living, but I am usually in a mild panic about everything.  About 10% of the time though, I am operating from a place of extreme, largely unwarranted confidence and that’s when I manage to get stuff done.  The rest of the time I just run errands and stuff.  Also, I’ve been told I have slightly larger than normal external male genitalia.  I realize you didn’t ask that question, but I wasn’t sure where else in this interview I should mention that.

How insecure do you consider yourself to be and if so, why live in New York, aka the second most shallow city in the history of the universe?

I think everyone in comedy is pretty insecure or they wouldn’t have gone into comedy in the first place.  As for my own mental state, I am wildly insecure sometimes and confident-bordering-on-delusional other times.  As I’ve learned in therapy, however, the key is to recognize both of those things as something you should probably blame on your parents.  New York is a great place to live though, because no matter what your mental state, you can always find someone who will make you feel totally not alone.

Did you always aspire to combine your music with your comedy or at what point did you decide to combine the two? What makes it work?

No.  I actually kept them pretty separate for a while.  I started as a musician and am a huge rock fan, so I was never really into “musical comedy” because I felt like it compromised the majesty of rock.  Or something like that.  But gradually, I started combining the two.  I’m not as much into writing silly songs as I just like talking and shredding on the guitar.  Also, the guitar is a nice kind of security blanket on stage that allows me to go back to being an introvert for a few seconds whenever I feel like it.  The guitar conveniently covers the nuts, too, so that’s another bonus.

What do you know about Norwegian Black Metal that the rest of America hasn’t caught on to yet?

As a lover of both Satan and heavy metal, Norwegian Black Metal has been a favorite of mine for a long time now.  It’s crossed over into pop culture in the last few years, mostly because of all the crazy Norwegian Black Metal band photos, but most Americans are totally missing out on all that borderline unlistenable music that goes along with it.  That said, there are some great Norwegian Black Metal bands.  I like Darkthrone, Mayhem, Satyricon, and Emperor a lot.  I love Bathory, too, but they’re Swedish, so I’m not sure if that counts.  They had the best band photos though if you ask me.  Also, a lot of Norwegian Black Metal musicians live out in the woods, which is also cool.

You have some impressive quips on your book. Malcolm Gladwell called you his “idol.” Is that difficult to live up to? Who would your dream book quote be from and what would he/she say?

No.  I see Malcolm a lot because we live in the same neighborhood.  I am happy to be a positive role model for him.  As far as dream quotes, I can’t believe it but I actually got most of the ones I wanted.  The back of my book has nice quotes from Dick Cavett, Malcolm Gladwell, Chris Elliott, Ira Glass, John Hodgman, Janeane Garofalo, Sandra Bernhard, and Andy Richter- all people I admire a shitload.  I really wanted to get one from Salman Rushdie but I couldn’t make it happen.  Fuckin‘ Rushdie.  I guess him or Stephen Hawking would have really rounded things out nicely.  They could say whatever they want as long as they promised to throw in a little profanity.  A quote from Morrissey would be great too- maybe just some of his lyrics.  I guess I could just go ahead and do that, couldn’t I?

Here’s an obvious question for you: what do women want and how can men give it to them?

I know women were into mojitos for a while, but now I’m not really sure.  I think it’s important to be kind and respectful to women at all times.  Also, don’t forget to work the nipples.

 

Danny Gallagher is a freelance writer, humorist and reporter and a regular contributor to TruTV’s “Dumb as a Blog“, Playboy’s “The Smoking Jacket“, MTV’s Clutch and the Shadowbox Comedy Theater of Columbus. His humor and feature writing has also appeared in Aol’s TVSquad.com and Asylum.com, Spike.com, Esquire Magazine, Cracked.com, Mental Floss Magazine, The Christian Science Monitor, Chicago Tribune’s “Redeye,” The Austin American-Statesmen and The Center for the Easily Amused. He doesn’t shower much.

 

Museum of Morgan – Crack Rock

Navigating The Music Video Landscape
Video: “Crack Rock”
Artist: The Dogs
Year: 1990

Remember music videos? A now long lost art form thanks to MTV2 programming such as “Jersey Shore,” “16 & Pregnant” and “Teen Mom.” Now – we slink away into the internet searching for our fix. On YouTube lies all of the nostalgia that comes with lip syncing and staring directly into the camera (or away for dramatic effect.) I just so happen to love the bad ones.

Oh 1990. Why don’t you quit playin’. I know what many of you may be thinking after just 25 seconds of this magical cinematic masterpiece. “This must be some sort of parody song. How can you rant comedically on a parody song?” Well hold tight, there beloved reader. This happens to be … an ACTUAL SONG. No parody about it. A bizarre and disturbing song complete with message and all! But this isn’t “Navigating The Song” landscape, this is “Navigating The Music Video Landscape.” So let’s focus on the matter at hand. The. Awful. Video. It is the single most terrifying memory one could have of their childhood: Being surrounded by children who point and laugh at you.

It’s kind of like having four kids pin you into a corner and shout “You shit your pants!” but you stand your ground and proclaim “I DID NOT! I WOULD NEVER!” only to realize that you had in fact pooped your Bugle Boy’s. Now take all of those emotions and throw in the words “Yo momma!” How does that feel? Yikes, right? The rest of the video consists of shadowy imagery of a young woman stranded on the streets facing dealers, pimps and johns. There’s nothing funny about a young woman getting her hair yanked on as a threat via some hoodlum. Nothing funny about that at all. What does happen to be funny, is that there are members of the hip hop group who perform this hard boiled inner city, tale always watching like peeping toms and giving rhyming commentary. So the thought process is: “Oh shit! This poor lady is gonna get taken advantage of! I had better call the police …


[Read more...]

Good Parenting – Scratchy Dog Productions

scratchy-dog-productions

Good Parenting is a funny childrearing fantasy web series produced by Scratchy Dog Productions, a small production company based out of New York. They started out as a chance for a few friends to be creative and hopefully make a few people laugh…And then laugh some more. They now have over 18 videos and have been featured on Funny or Die and atom.com.

[Read more...]

Funny Hip-Hop Homie Hardcore Boris

hardcore-boris

Comedy music video sensation “Hardcore Boris” is Boris Khaykin. Khaykin’s video/TV credits include Comedy Central, Gawker, Laughspin, High Times, and UCBcomedy.com. He’s performed stand up in numerous festivals and was featured on ‘Live at UCB’ as well as Collegehumor Live (1/26). Hardcore Boris is a frequent guest and contributor at The Chris Gethard Show where he has rapped and once made out with a live dog. In addition to stand up, Boris performs improv and rap with North Coast, raps on The Ride, and runs a blog as ‘The Water Connoisseur.’ [Read more...]

Hannibal Buress Gets Upset Easily

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Hannibal Buress plays The Punchline in Atlanta Friday, Oct. 21 and Sat the 22nd.  Buress is a stand up comedian from Chicago who currently resides in New York City. He’s appeared on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Comics Unleashed with Byron Allen, and Comedy Central’s Live at Gotham. He’ll also be appearing in the upcoming documentary “The Awkward Kings of Comedy” He isn’t really awkward though. Sometimes he is. http://hannibalhannibal.tumblr.com/

“If Steven Wright, Mos Def and Dave Chappelle had a baby, that would be disgusting, but it would sound like Hannibal Buress. The funniest young comic I’ve seen in years.” – Chris Rock

 

Museum of Morgan – Said I Loved You But I Lied

Navigating The Music Video Landscape
Video: “Said I Loved You But I Lied”
Artist: Michael Bolton
Year: 1993
 

Remember music videos? A now long lost art form thanks to MTV2 programming such as “Jersey Shore,” “16 & Pregnant” and “Teen Mom.” Now – we slink away into the internet searching for our fix. On YouTube lies all of the nostalgia that comes with lip syncing and staring directly into the camera (or away for dramatic effect.) I just so happen to love the bad ones. 

Far before you hipsters thought he was cool because he crested the high seas with The Lonely Island on the track “Jack Sparrow” … Michael Bolton was the stuff of adult contemporary mom dreams. Armed with enough squinting to merit a contact lense prescription, hair cascading from his scalp like a hunky hero from a romance novel and a wardrobe provided exclusively from the Natural Wonder store at a mall circa 1994, this video provides a perfect example of why the midlife ladies used to swoon.

michael-bolton-liedI have to be honest, I had no idea that Michael Bolton cared so much about nature. The video is set across the glorious landscape of Phoenix, Arizona. On first glimpse you may have thought that the video was an early inspiration for the Disney classic “The Lion King.” There are several points here where Sultry Voice McGee sings directly into a circling helicopter shot. A shot that almost screams “Circle Of Life.” But the landscape alone doesn’t even scratch the surface on the natural beauty the video expresses. It’s littered with shots of clouds passing by (I believe to show us this is a dream.) There are horses, hawks and semi naked women galore. And my oh my the fire … there is fuck tons of unnecessary fire. I often say to myself when watching this video. “Be careful horses! Watch out for that fire!”

Our crooner broodingly wanders through this setting recalling the memory of a long lost love. Much of that memory is her, a beautiful model, making out with him while splayed across the boulders of the Arizona desert wearing nothing but a silk sheet. Any shot of her is purely in black and white, to represent that she is his past. A memory never to be forgotten. He moves along, like a ghost, remembering this beautiful woman. And as he does he tricks us with the lyrics. [Read more...]

The Walken Dead – POYKPAC Comedy


Walken-DeadPOYKPAC Comedy makes you go, “What the FFFFF…unny?!?”

This Brooklyn based comedy troupe consists of funny people named Jenn Lyon, Maggie Ross, Ryan Hall, Ryan Hunter and Taige Jensen. They had a little help from our friend Justin Morgan in The Walken Dead.

http://poykpac.com/