Category: comedy

Interview: Al Franken, coming to ArtsQuest, talks about his resignation from the Senate, lying liars, and the big issues facing our country

Al Franken

Al Franken is a comedian, New York Times bestselling author, radio host, political activist and, perhaps most notably, former United States Senator — where he served on the Judiciary, Energy and Indian Affairs committees.

Franken was also one of the original writers for “Saturday Night Live,” where he scored 15 Emmy nominations [winning five] as both writer and producer.

Now, four years removed from his position as Senator of Minnesota — and noncommittal when it comes to the idea of another possible run — Franken is on the road with his stand-up comedy show, “Al Franken: The Only Former U.S. Senator Currently on Tour Tour.”

His show promises to feature unique satire, candid conversation about what’s going on in the world, and stories about his time in the Senate.

I recently spoke with him on the phone about his upcoming appearance at ArtsQuest’s Musikfest Cafe (8 p.m. Feb 18) and more.

James Wood for The Morning Call: How would you describe your style of comedy?

Franken: It’s satire to some degree and a lot of it is about politics. I was a big fan of guys like George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Lenny Bruce and all the other comedians who’ve talked about satirical comedy and commentary. It has a point of view, but the emphasis is really on laughs.

What else can fans expect from your appearance at SteelStacks?

I do about an hour and a half of standup and really enjoy the craft. I used to have a partner, Tom Davis, who would go out on the road with me. He and I were two of the original “SNL” writers.

It’s a little different now going out single. For this tour, I started working up a show at the Comedy Cellar and talk a lot about what’s going on right now and about my experience in politics. I also talk about running for the Senate and having everything I’ve ever said as a comedian, ironically or satirically, used against me and put through the de-humorizor [laughs].

The show is a lot of fun for the audience and for me. I originally did a run of 15 cities, and we’ve just added 16 more.

Read the rest of my

Interview with Al Franken by Clicking Here.

Wind Creek Bethlehem comedy preview: Bill Maher gets real with Dave Chappelle, free speech, Trump, honesty, and Hillary Clinton

Photo: John Russo

Comedian Bill Maher has set the boundaries for humor and political talk.

First on the widely popular “Politically Incorrect,” which ran on ABC from 1993-2002, and for the last 19 years as host of his acclaimed HBO series, “Real Time” — where his combination of honesty and laughter has garnered more than 40 Emmy nominations.

On the show, Maher interviews some of the world’s most influential people while taking swings at both republicans and democrats alike. His criticism of people like Donald Trump is nearly equivalent to his concern about the over-extension of wokeism.

While taking a break from “Real Time,” Maher is currently out on the road performing stand-up. The comedian will make a stop at the Wind Creek Event Center, in Bethlehem on Sunday, Oct. 24.

I recently spoke with Maher about his upcoming Lehigh Valley performance and more.

James Wood: What can fans expect from your show at the Wind Creek Event Center?

Bill Maher: They can expect to laugh their ass off. That’s what stand-up comedy is supposed to be. If they’re people who watch “Real Time” then they’re familiar with the general things I’m interested in, which are not the trivialities of life.

I’ve always been interested in the big subjects going on in the world like politics, but I also like talking about my personal life too. Something that’s consequential and has nutrition in it. The bottom line though is people are hungry to laugh again and to laugh hard. That’s what I’m going to make them do.

How are you able to separate the format of “Real Time” from your stand-up comedy?

The great thing about stand-up is that it’s free form. What I’ve seen recently is an encouraging embrace of the point of view I’ve been putting across on my show. The greatest threat right now is from the right. We’re playing with fire with the Republican Party where they don’t believe elections are real. That’s a dangerous place to be and that has to be called out. But I also talk about what I think are the excesses of the woke and how wokeism is not really liberalism.

You may not agree with everything I say but most people can appreciate that I’m trying to be an honest broker and that’s a hard thing to do these days in America.

Read the rest of my

Interview with Bill Maher by Clicking Here.

SteelStacks comedy preview: Heather Land brings laughs and ‘Age Gap Tour’ to Bethlehem

Heather Land

Heather Land’s smart-alecky wit and her filter-faced “I Ain’t Doin It” videos have become a worldwide sensation, garnering more than 300 million views. That was enough to make the one-time administrative professional and worship leader change roles and dive headfirst into comedy. 

Land now performs shows across the country, regaling audiences with her humor on such real-world topics as failed diets, raising teenagers and holidays — as well as referencing her “I Ain’t Doin’ It” videos. Her specialty is finding the funny in the frustrating and reminding everyone that it’s ok to laugh at themselves.

Land is currently on the road with her “Age Gap Tour,” which makes a stop in Bethlehem at ArtsQuest’s Musikfest Cafe at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct 17.

I recently spoke with Land about her upcoming performance and more.

James Wood for The Morning Call: How would you describe your brand of comedy?

Land: I’m definitely a storyteller. True stories I elaborate on along with a lot of self-depreciation. If we can’t laugh at ourselves then good grief, what are we even doing?

What else can fans look forward to with your performance in Bethlehem?

Most know me from “I Ain’t Doin It,” so there will be obvious references to that. People often ask how I can do it without the filter face but I’m there to make them laugh. A lot of times I’ll do music at my shows as well. It’s great to be back out and seeing people again.

Comedy wasn’t your original career goal, was it?

My original career goal was leading worship in church. I went to bible college and that’s where I landed for a long time. I thought that would be it but then I went through a divorce after a long marriage and had to switch gears. I started doing administrative work and making videos. All of a sudden, the videos started going viral and I suddenly found myself becoming a comedian. 

Comedy wasn’t something I set out to do but I’m really glad I took the risk.

Read the rest of my

Interview with Heather Land by Clicking Here.