Pop culture from Southern California and beyond.

Interview: W. Kamau Bell, star of FX's "Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell," hits The Largo this Friday night

W. Kamau Bell

Matthias Clamer

Socially-charged comedian and TV showrunner W. Kamau Bell performs at The Largo on Friday, December 7.

W. Kamau Bell, the creator and host of FX's weekly half-hour comedy show "Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell," is coming to Los Angeles this Friday night to make his debut at The Largo (doors at 7pm, show at 8:30pm). FX announced last week that the 3rd cycle of "Totally Biased," this time with 13 episodes to begin on Thursday, January 17, in the 11pm time slot.

Bell made a name for himself in the San Francisco comedy scene, releasing his first album of stand up comedy, One Night Only, in 2007, the same year he developed and unveiled his one-man show, The W. Kamau Bell Curve: Ending Racism in About An Hour, which toured across the country to much acclaim, garnering the attention of one Chris Rock, who cultivated a relationship with Bell that resulted in "Totally Biased," with Rock credited as executive producer.


Interview: Demetri Martin's "Standup Comedian" released today, 2 versions on multiple media

Demetri Martin.Standup Comedian

Comedian and writer, Demetri Martin, today releases DVD and CD versions of his new special, "Demetri Martin. Standup Comedian," and they are both very different.

We had a chance to have a quick chat with Demetri Martin on Friday, just a day before his second one-hour special, Demetri Martin. Standup Comedian, premiered on Comedy Central. The special that aired Saturday, is being released today as a DVD and download, it was recorded at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts in New York, a fairly large theater. Also released today is a CD/download that was recorded at the ACME Comedy Club, an intimate comedy club in Minneapolis, Minnesota. While the order of some of the material is the same, the differences are remarkable enough that you will want to experience them both. Most notably the video package comes with additional materials that didn't make it into the stage performance as well as a more "visual" set jokes that differ from some of the riffing and crowd repartee in the audio package. Luckily for people who are interested, Martin is offering a discounted and limited edition bundle that includes the video and audio recordings as well as a t-shirt and a signed art bundle - pretty cool. In the interview below Martin tells us how he put together his special, how he builds his jokes, and his upcoming book project.
It seems that a favorite theme of yours seems to be the exploration of language, both written and verbal.

Demetri Martin: I think there's a connection between puzzles and comedy, and there's a lot of satisfaction to be derived from solving these puzzles. There's a connection between that and doing standup as a career and working on jokes. I look at the joke, the premise, and try to figure out how to get there. I look at language, and these units of communication, specific words, and find that it's fun to play around with them and the jokes seem to emerge from that.

This release is 2 different recordings at 2 different locations, one on the DVD/video and the other is the audio album, how did you put these together?


Interview: Lewis Black, new special, "In God We Rust," premieres midnight tonight on Comedy Central

Lewis Black's "In God We Rust"

Stark Raving Black Productions

Lewis Black's "In God We Rust" premieres tonight at midnight on Comedy Central

Tonight Comedy Central will air comedian and social critic Lewis Black's special, In God We Rust, at midnight. In God We Rust, once released as media, will be Black's tenth CD since 2000, an impressive body of material by a comedian who has clearly defined his style, effectively cornering the market on apoplectic rage for over a decade.

Here we are in the midst of another election cycle, the perfect time for another politically-tinged special from Lewis Black, who has consistently been providing commentary on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart." He's also been performing plenty of contemporary material, as noted at Comedy Central's "Indecision In The Park" show in Central Park a couple months ago, along with John Oliver, Kristen Schaal, Wyatt Cenac, Al Madrigal, and John Hodgman. Because we se him so regularly on TV, it was a bit of a surprise to learn that In God We Rust was recorded almost a year and a half ago in Minneapolis.


Comedian Todd Barry's Comedy Central special and album, "Super Crazy" premieres tonight

Todd Barry's Comedy Central special, "Super Crazy," premieres tonight at 11pm. CD/DVD out next Tuesday.

If you're a consumer of TV, film, or comedy, you have seen or heard Todd Barry sometime in the past 15 years. Here are just a few highlights: Barry has appeared on "The Larry Sanders Show," appeared more than a dozen times on "Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist," played the part of Todd, the 3rd Conchord, in probably the best episode of "Flight of the Conchords," had a supporting role in The Wrestler, and has made more appearances than just about any other non-family character on FX's "Louie." Those highlights don't include dozens of appearances on TV comedy showcases and late night shows like "Late Night With Conan O'Biren," "Jimmy Kimmel Live," and the "Late Show With David Letterman."

Todd Barry has been performing comedy for 20+ years and he knows what to do with an audience, he is deft, reserved, and masterful and sometimes that puts people off. I recently read a post from somebody who said that he "hated comedians who are smug, who look like they'd never acknowledge a joke or crack a smile." While Barry's humor is sardonic and cutting, you can hear the humor in his voice and he laughs with the audience, particularly when interacting with individuals and he even concedes to broadly smiling in the show, adding that "they will probably have to edit that out."


Interview: Scott Aukerman's 'Comedy Bang Bang' premieres on IFC tonight


Scott Aukerman's TV show "Comedy Bang Bang" premieres tonight at 10pm on IFC

Writer, performer, podcaster, and impressario Scott Aukerman has created a show called "Comedy Bang Bang" on IFC which premieres tonight at 10pm. In the same way that his "Comedy Bang Bang" podcast is not a simple interview podcast, "Comedy Bang Bang" the TV show is nothing like a TV talk show. Yes, there's some chairs on a set, and yes, there is musical accompaniment by surreal musical humorist Reggie Watts, and yes, there are comedians/performers as guests - but what they talk about is not limited to their next film or TV project, and how they talk is not limited to expected human language. Is the show a parody of a talk show or is it its own "thing"? How many talk shows take off into other locations, times, and dimensions? Perhaps "dementions" is a better word. The show is absurd, surreal, but most importantly, funny. Aukerman kindly gave us a few minutes to chat late last week: