Pop culture from Southern California and beyond.

The Roundup: The Improv attack; TV news and picks for the week and more

"Real Time With Bill Maher"

HBO

HBO has renewed "Real Time with Bill Maher for 2 more seasons - Sam Jones/HBO

 

News In Comedy We were lucky enough to be at the Comedy Store's 40th anniversary party on Saturday, with performances from the likes of Louie Anderson, Dom Irrera, Garry Shandling, Bill Burr, John Caparulo, Natasha Leggero, Brody Stevens, Tony Clifton, Iliza Schlesinger, and countless others paying homage to impressario Mitzi Shore's comedy Mecca. Legendary managers like Barry Katz were in the audience along with countless TV writers, producers, and other comedians. Tony Clifton sang REM's "Man On The Moon" backed by a live band of lingerie clad musicians while a video "In Memorium" montage played. Nearly half a century of pop culture has been directly influenced by peformers who went through the hallowed/terrifying doors of the Comedy Store. Hopefully there will be a 50th anniversary.

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Improv Lab aims to shake up traditional comedy world

Courtesy Jamie Flam

Improv Lab manager Jamie Flam

The Improv Lab is a 50-seat theater attached to the Hollywood Improv and marks an attempt by one of Los Angeles's traditional comedy clubs to try something different from the standard club formula. In an online editorial, Comedy Store marketing and development VP Alf LaMont wrote that "The Improv Lab is a ray of sunshine in an otherwise bleak landscape."

Improv Lab manager Jamie Flam agrees with LaMont that one of the keys is developing talent. "It really is as simple as talking to people about their shows" and providing resources, Flam says. "Just talking about the show and helping give notes and feedback." Flam says that, as someone who knows other comedians and has produced hundreds of shows, he can recommend other comedians who should be on a show and give feedback on how to promote the show and what would take a show to the next level.

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