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Violet Krumbein's "Human Painkiller" Reviewed on TheComicsComic.com

Mar 10, 2015

Review: Violet Krumbein's 'Human Painkiller'

Dazzling. Startling. Laugh-out-loud hilarious. Violet Krumbein's one-woman romp is called 'Human Painkiller,' and for good reason, because I'm not sure how anyone can still feel pain after a half-hour with Krumbein, unless you're hurting from laughing so much. In black tights, sparkly gold miniskirt, fanny pack and tap shoes, Krumbein grabs your attention from the start and never lets go in a multi-character farce of outrageous proportions. 

Some may compare Krumbein with Gilda Radner. I think of her show more as though Radner got to play in Pee-Wee's Playhouse. There's a song-and-dance number about hating pills, several love interests, happy fun glove, flashbacks, sound cues and a downright dangerously silly sex scene. At one point, Krumbein declares: 'It kills me that such a beautiful woman has such horrible mental problems.' You're meant to think of this as a moment of self-deprecation. And yet I don't find anything wrong with her at all. Director Megan Neuringer said she didn't exactly try to rein Krumbein in, but rather has worked with her in terms of structure so the audience 'knows this is all deliberate.' It's not haphazard at all. It's very deliberately absurd and funny.

In a note to friends on Facebook, Krumbein warned: 'the show is offensive to Russians, Jews, Gays, Old People, Activists, Health Aides, Rich People, Epileptics, sufferers of Von Willebrand Disease, Healers, and Inventors.' More importantly, it's only offensive to people who lack a sense of humor.

Go see Violet Krumbein in 'Human Painkiller,' 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 15 at the UCB Theatre in NYC. Dates in November and December to be scheduled.
NY Shows

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Killgore Returns to the UCB Theatre October 29th, 30th & 31st

Mar 10, 2015

Killgore: The Resurrection

In ancient times, an evil spirit would rise from hell every Halloween and appear incarnate at the UCB Theater...where he would soak the stage (and parts of the audience) with a ridiculous amount of fake blood.

Now that demon is back, ready to unleash a ridiculously gory, hopelessly bloody torrent of vengeance...and fake blood.

Fortunately, the beast only slaughters those who are rife with selfishness, greed, hatred, and a few people who just suck (though a little bit of fake blood sometimes gets on the audience).

That demon's name is Killgore.

7 deadly shows!
Wednesday, October 29th at 8pm & 10pm
Thursday, October 30th at 8pm & 10pm
Friday, October 31st at 8pm, 10pm & Midnight
Written by: Matt Walsh

Directed by: Anthony King

Starring: Eugene Cordero, Matt Fisher, Chris Gethard, Molly Lloyd, John Murray, Lennon Parham, Ben Rodgers, Charlie Sanders, Jim Santangeli, Ben Schwartz, Gavin Speiller, Kate Spencer, Andree Vermeulen & Zach Woods

Strobe lights will be used during the performance of this show

Also...this show uses a ridiculous amount of fake blood. Ridiculous!


NY Shows

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Paul F. Tompkins named host of Best Week Ever

Mar 10, 2015

A Pop-Culture Show Looks for Attitude With Heart

Paul F. Tompkins will be the only host of Best Week Ever, with his name added to the title.

For nearly five years, viewers looking to catch up on the world of pop culture could turn to Best Week Ever on VH1, where an array of talking heads -- comedians, writers and entertainment personalities like Nick Kroll, Rachel Harris and Judah Friedlander of 30 Rock -- would dish and snark on the lives of the Lohans, the Spears', reality-show contestants and anyone else caught midfoible in a video clip.

But the era of multiple commentators is coming to a close: starting on Oct. 24 the show will move to a new format, centered on a single host, the comedian Paul F. Tompkins, VH1 plans to announce on Wednesday.

The change is part of a larger revamping of the show, the channel's longest-running weekly series if not its most popular. "Clearly, some of our reality shows get bigger numbers," said Jim Ackerman, the senior vice president for development at VH1, referring to programs like I Love New York. "But I think 'Best Week Ever has helped find the voice of the channel in the last couple years."

Still, he added, "it was time to shake up the format a little bit," especially since that love-to-hate-it take on celebrity minutiae has been widely copied. "With Paul, we get a bit of control and we get a more singular voice, and I think we might be more consistently funny." Though Mr. Ackerman said the change was not ratings-driven, Mr. Tompkins acknowledged that there was competition with The Soup, the E! network's similar pop-culture wrap-up show, hosted by Joel McHale. It is shown at 10 p.m. on Fridays -- Best Week Ever is on an hour later -- but is repeated twice as often throughout the week. (Both are half-hour weekly series. According to Nielsen, in the last year Best Week Ever averaged 520,000 prime-time viewers; The Soup, 890,000.) Though some features of the old Best Week Ever, like "The Sizzler," a quick gossip rundown, will remain, and some former panelists will return for scripted bits, the new show will be more written-through, and may even have a less mean-spirited take, more in line with Mr. Tompkins's genial point of view.

"Sometimes it feels weird to get invested in the ups and downs of these strangers," he said. "I would rather the target be Dina Lohan, who is an adult, who is making her own decisions in a supposedly rational way, than pick on someone who is still figuring out her own life."

The new show, called Best Week Ever With Paul F. Tompkins, will not abandon the sarcasm entirely but will be "snarky with a heart, snarky with a conscience," Mr. Tompkins said, though he may have been snarking slightly when he said it.

Mr. Tompkins, 40, has contributed to Best Week Ever since it started, and he said getting the call to host was a rare instance of show-business ambition matching up with opportunity. "When I would watch the show," he said, "I would always wish I was on it more." Three weeks ago he and his girlfriend, Janie Haddad, an actress, moved to New York from Los Angeles, where he had lived for 14 years.

Though he has been a big shot in stand-up circles for more than a decade, he is not a household name to general audiences, despite appearing on the HBO cult favorite Mr. Show With Bob and David in the 1990s and, more recently, on The Sarah Silverman Program on Comedy Central, which also showed several of his stand-up specials. "I'm known as the guy who wears the suits, because the guy named Paul with the gap in his teeth was not specific enough," he said, referring to his fellow commentator, the less-nattily-dressed comedian Paul Scheer. Off screen, Mr. Tompkins's humor is also more conceptual. Asked what his middle initial stands for, he said, "Fascism. It's a family name." (It's actually Francis.)

But earlier this year, VH1 experimented with a three-and-a-half-minute show called Best Day Ever, which he hosted, and executives were pleased. ("It was almost as if we saw the future of the show," Mr. Ackerman said.) Best Day Ever has also returned this week, Monday through Thursday, with Mr. Tompkins again hosting.

With the move to a single host, the look of Best Week Ever will change. While the talking heads were always seated in front of a colored screen, Mr. Tompkins will stand behind a piece of furniture that he termed a podo-desk (a podium-desk). "I'm already experimenting with elbow leans, with left foot versus right foot, with shifting my weight, distributing my weight," he said. "So there's going to be no surprises when it finally comes down to it." His only other preparation: requesting a teleprompter.

Staff members of Best Week Ever are also figuring out how to work to Mr. Tompkins's strengths. "Already we're getting a lot better at writing with Paul's voice in mind," Sean Johnson, the executive producer, said. In a dry run last week he, a half-dozen other producers and Mr. Tompkins gathered in an orange conference room in VH1's new brightly colored offices near TriBeCa to go over scripts. Their first bit involved a clip of Cloris Leachman, 82, stumbling through a number on Dancing With the Stars. It ended with her being wildly twirled by her partner, panting and showcasing her decolletage to the cameras.

"And in the end of days, a half-woman, half-man creature will crawl across the earth, its bosom large and its tongue agape, and ye shall know ye are a godless people," Mr. Tompkins intoned. In a taping, he punched up this line by delivering it in the manner of an old-timey preacher.

Mr. Johnson and his crew were pleased. "I'm sure we can tackle the elderly-abuse angle next week," he said.

LA General

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