Entries in Comedy (8)


Comedian Phyllis Diller Dead at 95

David Livingston/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Pioneering comedienne Phyllis Diller has died, her manager confirms to ABC News Radio.  She was 95.  

Diller was known for her appearance as well as for her routines about her "husband," "Fang," her signature cigarette holder, her trademark laugh and her many plastic surgeries.

Diller was a 38-year-old mother of five when she started her career as a stand-up comedian.  Her first gig was in 1955 at a San Francisco club called The Purple Onion, where she was a hit.  That led to a Tonight Show appearance and many TV spots over the years.  She co-starred with Bob Hope in more than a dozen TV specials, and also performed with him in Vietnam in 1966; she credited him with much of her success.

In addition, Diller appeared in a number of movies, including The Sunshine Boys, Splendor in the Grass and Boy, Did I Get a Wrong Number!, and appeared on Broadway in Hello Dolly!

Diller's career continued throughout the decades: she appeared on The Drew Carey Show and Boston Legal, and contributed her distinctive voice to animated TV shows and movies like A Bug's Life, Family Guy and The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Chris Rock: Cellphones Spoiling Stand-Up Comedy

Michael Buckner/Getty Images for Bing(NEW YORK) -- Chris Rock is never one to hold his tongue.  Now, the comedian is blaming cellphone cameras for spoiling his jokes.

On Wednesday's Good Morning America, Rock told ABC's George Stephanopoulos that he'd love to do stand-up again, but technology is making it hard.

"I'm gonna get back. It's just hard to do it in the age of cellphone cameras. People don't let you work," says Rock, who's starring in the new indie film 2 Days In New York, out Friday.

"Here's the thing.  Anytime you see an HBO special, I've done almost 200 shows to get ready...I really craft it," Rock says, then explains, "But now with the cameras people show the stuff while you're getting it ready."

Thanks to online technology, Rock was in the middle of controversy recently when he tweeted during the Fourth of July holiday, "Happy white peoples independence day the slaves weren't free but I'm sure they enjoyed fireworks."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Daniel Tosh Apologizes for Rape 'Joke'

Michael Schwartz/WireImage(LOS ANGELES) -- After denigrating a female audience member who spoke out against rape jokes in his routine, comedian Daniel Tosh issued a mea culpa on his Twitter account Tuesday to clear the air.

"All the out of context misquotes aside, I'd like to sincerely apologize," Tosh said. Next to his apology, he posted a link to a blog entry written by the victimized woman's friend recounting her altercation with Tosh at his comedy show at the Laugh Factory in Hollywood, Calif., July 6.

Tosh has a Comedy Central series called Tosh.0. The cable channel hasn't commented on the remarks.

During his act, Tosh made statements about rape jokes always being funny, which prompted the woman to yell out, "Actually, rape jokes are never funny!" according to the Tumblr "Cookies for Breakfast."

Her reaction triggered Tosh to comment about the audience member herself.

"Wouldn't it be funny if that girl got raped by like, five guys right now?" he said, according to the blog post. "Like right now? What if a bunch of guys just raped her..."

The blog post written by the audience member's friend, entitled "So a Girl Walks into a Comedy Club…" gives the firsthand account from Tosh's female target "in her own words." According to the post, the woman said to her friend that she felt "provoked" when Tosh began to make light of rape.

The woman and her friend were stunned at Tosh's reaction to her call-out and left immediately after he made her the butt of his joke.

They were not refunded for the cost of their tickets, but instead provided with a pair of free tickets to come back and see another show at the famous Los Angeles comedy club, the blog post said.

Tosh followed up on his apology on Twitter, saying "The point I was making before I was heckled is there are awful things in the world but you can still make jokes about them."

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Dave Chappelle Returns to the Stage at Mourning's Summer Groove Charity Event

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(MIAMI) -- Comedian Dave Chappelle made national news Friday night when he bombed at Alonzo Mourning's Summer Groove charity comedy event, but he didn’t give up.  Chappelle also did a brief stand-up set at the Summer Groove gala Saturday night at the Seminole Hard Rock in Florida, reports  The ten-minute routine was well received, according to a source at the event.

Chappelle took a moment to apologize for his "bad attitude" on Friday, when he attempted to perform, but was met with hecklers after reportedly sending text messages and refusing to tell jokes while on stage. On Saturday, he introduced singer Cee Lo Green and quickly got off the stage.  Chappelle reportedly has been testing the waters for a return to stand-up comedy by trying out his new material in unannounced appearances.

Mourning's 15th annual weekend provided help for thousands of South Florida's impoverished youth.  It featured a golf tournament, a dinner headlined by Alicia Keys and Green, and several other events.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Pulitzer Prize for The Onion?

PRNewsFoto/The Onion(NEW YORK) -- Steven Forbeck is the head of the satirical organization Americans for Fairness in Awarding Journalism Prizes, which is trying to elicit support for a Pulitzer Prize for The Onion, itself a satirical newspaper.

The Onion, established in 1988 at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, has taken to calling the Pulitzer Board the "Lazy, Illiterate Pulitzer Board," leading up to the publication of its 1,000th issue June 20.

So far, Ricky Gervais, Arianna Huffington, Gail King, Ira Glass, Mikheil Saakashvili (President of the Republic of Georgia), Russ Feingold, Tom Hanks, and Mario Batali, as well as many other notables, have joined the cause.

"[AFAJP] was founded in 1944, started in response to a lot of concerned citizens noticing that journalism organizations were not being recognized for their achievements," Forbeck, in character as the Head of the AFAJP, told ABC news. "Specifically was one in Belgium, some reporters were rewarded for some reporting they did, I don't know, on the Western Front during World War II. And of course, as we all know, Belgium isn't an actual country, so it doesn't have any standing to win an actual prize."

For the record, Belgium is a country located in Western Europe.

Since its inception in 1917, the Pulitzer Prize Committee has distributed 8,000 of the prestigious prizes. Forbeck thinks that The Onion should without question be awarded a Pulitzer.

"It is a testament to the age that we live in, unfortunately, that I would even have to answer this question. It is the number one news organization in the country. Unbiased reporting, hard-hitting, in-depth coverage, I could go on and on, but unfortunately most of the adjectives that could describe The Onion haven't been invented yet," said Forbeck.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Will Ferrell to Receive Mark Twain Prize for American Humor

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Will Ferrell will be the next person to be honored with the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. He'll become the 14th person to receive the award, joining such luminaries Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Steve Martin, Whoopi Goldberg, Bill Cosby and fellow Saturday Night Live alum Tina Fey, who received the prize last year.

In a statement, Ferrell said he was honored, and quipped, "I will now begin cultivating a Mark Twain-esque mustache in anticipation of the event."

Ferrell will receive the prize during a ceremony at the Kennedy Center on October 23.  The event will be recorded and broadcast at a later date.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Jerry Seinfeld Doesn't Watch 'Seinfeld'

Heidi Gutman/Bravo(NEW YORK) -- Jerry Seinfeld doesn't watch Seinfeld -- not that there's anything wrong with that.

The comic tells he doesn't catch episodes of the legendary sitcom, saying "I don't really, in fact, I don't at all.  I think because as much as I enjoy the humor of it, it kind of reminds me of how hard it was to do."  He added, "I can't seem to get that part out of my head and just enjoy the show, but I'm working on it because I would like to watch them more.  When I watch them, I see my face and I see how I was struggling."

Seinfeld is keeping busy these days with the launch of, a new website where he says he'll post three clips of his standup over the years each day.  Seinfeld has no ads on the site because he wants people to appreciate the art of standup comedy, calling it "a valentine to this profession."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Legendary Comics Appear in Never-Before-Seen Videos

Photo Courtesy - The Friars Club Roasts(WASHINGTON) -- For the first time, the Friars have made available online "The Classic Friars Club Roasts," a DVD box set featuring roasts of legendary comedians Jack Benny, Milton Berle, Jerry Lewis, Don Rickles and Johnny Carson.

Video of the roasts is accompanied by a DVD of previously unseen outtakes. Almost a half-century has elapsed since these shows aired originally, and the pop-cultural artifacts have never been made available to the public until now.

"Thanks to the Friars Club roasts, America's comics were acknowledging humanity's intrinsic comic baseness rather than ignoring it,” writer Greg Beato said. “Finally, they were using their comic skills to push against the bounds of propriety, instead of merely tickling the public with childish euphemisms and coy innuendo. Cursing with abandon, reveling in their unconstrained crudity, erstwhile Catskills tumblers elevated themselves, at least temporarily, from jokers to truth-tellers."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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