Pop culture from Southern California and beyond.

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: Comedian Jim Norton's new special, "Please Be Offended," premieres tomorrow night on EPIX

Comedian Jim Norton's first special in 5 years premieres tomorrow night on EPIX at 10pm

Jim Norton is known to millions of people from his nearly daily appearances on SiriusXM's "Opie & Anthony Show," his work on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno," cameos in movies like Spider-Man, and TV show roles in "Lucky Louie," "Bored To Death," and "Louie." If you go to New York City, you can catch Norton doing at least 1 comedy set per night in the best comedy clubs, including the world-famous Comedy Cellar. Norton also organizes road trips, pulls together his favorite comics to open for him, and even sets up national tours, like the Anti Social Comedy Tour with incredible lineups with some of the most confrontational comedians working today. For somebody as raw and unapologetic as Norton, he is one of the most humble and appreciative comics I've ever talked to. Tomorrow night, Norton's first solo comedy special since 2007 will premiere on the EPIX network at 10pm. Below we talked about the special, some of the themes he explored in this new hour, and how he survives his gruelling schedule:


Interview: Hannibal Buress' "Animal Furnace" now available on CD/DVD

Comedy Central

Hannibal Buress' new special is now available on CD and DVD.

Hannibal Buress, the 29-year old, New York City based comedian, who won the Best Club Comic award at the 2012 Comedy Awards, premiered his Comedy Central special, Hannibal Buress: Animal Furnace last month and now it's available on CD and DVD. This is the 2nd release by Buress, following his 2010 album, My Name Is Hannibal, but his first with Comedy Central's label. The 16 tracks of Animal Furnace are all very solid, little hints of which were peppered throughout Buress' TV appearances over the past year with the significant difference in that they are uncensored and not limited to a 5-7 minute slice at the end of some late night show.

Three favorite tracks for me were his story about getting a show written up by a college newspaper; how Buress behaves in a nightclub; and his closer which is no just about apple juice. This album and special are a remarkable accomplishment for a young man who less than 4 years ago was homeless in New York. While Buress does find himself in Los Angeles with considerable regularity, he rarely headlines in town so, as he discusses at the end of our interview, you will have to keep your eye on certain venues in town to see him feature. You can get Animal Furnace in both DVD and CD formats, uncensored is the way to go! You can also catch Buress on Adult Swim's surreal "The Eric Andre Show" on Sunday nights at midnight - quite possibly the most bizarre 15 minutes of TV every week.


The Roundup: Palin to attack HBO's 'Game Change'

Juliann Moore stars as Sarah Palin in "Game Change" which premieres Saturday at 8pm on HBO


Juliann Moore stars as Sarah Palin in "Game Change" which premieres Saturday at 8pm on HBO

This week there's a big focus on "Game Change," the dramatization of Sarah Palin's involvement in the 2008 election which premieres on HBO at 8pm on Saturday. The problem for Palin is that the movie is done very very well. Julianne Moore, while not getting the Palin accent down very well, really brings Palin to life. Woody Harrelson and Ed Harris round out the top of the bill with excellent performances. Watch Palin and the conservative right wing stagger from their latest round of gaffes to rally against what is a remarkable piece of storytelling (without actually seeing it - kind of like male conservative pundits weighing in on women's health). "Game Change" shows just how close the country was to putting an unscrupulous incompetent in immediate succession to the presidency. Thankfully Saturday is bereft of other TV distractions, watch "Game Change."


'SouthLAnd' star Michael Cudlitz on the show, sharing a squad car with Lucy Liu and more

TNT's "SouthLAnd" (Tuesdays at 10 p.m.) makes the convincing argument that there isn't a better cop show on TV and there hasn't been one this good in quite a while. The crew for this show is constantly moving from location to location across Los Angeles, bringing recognizable scenes to our TVs every week. This is a show that tells its stories from street level, from inside the squad car and from the homes of the officers and detectives portrayed in the series.

Series star Michael Cudlitz has been there from the beginning, playing the seemingly solid Officer John Cooper, the most experienced character of the ones we follow on the show. "Seemingly" solid because last season Cooper's regimen of self-prescribing medication for a bad back led him to stealing painkillers or scoring them in the lavatory of the local cops' watering hole.

This season, the fourth for "SouthLAnd," Cooper has returned to the force, looking trim and very fit after a stint of physical rehab to repair his damaged back. But Cooper appears very cautious, dare we say vulnerable, as he resumes his duties. He's now teamed up with Officer Jessica Tang, played by Lucy Liu, who joined the ensemble as a handful of characters were written off the show during its most recent hiatus.

As the show airs, you will see Cudlitz on Twitter, week in, week out, promoting his show, just as he has from its first season, and during production Cudlitz continues to tweet away from curbside scenes across Los Angeles. Cudlitz has been vocal about supporting the show, particularly during its somewhat tumultuous transfer from NBC to TNT between the first and second seasons. [NBC made two seasons of the show, but only aired one. TNT bought the show and the rights to air the second season.]