Category Archives: comedian

Charlie Callas 1927-2011

Comedian Charlie Callas passed away Thursday. I remember him most for his role as Sinestro in the infamous TV special “Legends of the Superheroes,” and with Green Lantern film so hot right now, Sinestro also appearing in it, and the aforementioned special finally on legal DVD, it might be what many folks remember him for.

But that’s not all Callas was famous for. His motormouth delivery, impersonations and sound effects made him a favorite on talk shows and variety shows of the 1960s and 1970s. As well as being one of the funniest roasters on the Dean Martin Roasts, Callas was notoriously banned from “The Tonight Show” for shoving Johnny Carson.

With a colorful career, as well as the first actor to portray the renegade Green Lantern, Charlie Callas will be missed.

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Greg Giraldo 1965-2010

Comedian Greg Giraldo passed away today after being hospitalized last week from a prescription drug overdose.  He was 45. 

The insult comic, writer, and television and radio celebrity was originally a lawyer before becoming a comedian.  Giraldo frequently did his stand-up on most of the talk shows of the last couple decades.  Most recently he was a judge on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing.” 

He hosted and appeared on numerous shows and specials on Comedy Central, most notably their revival of the celebrity roasts, and was considered a mainstay of the network. 

He’ll be missed.

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Lucky Louie

This isn’t a review of HBO’s cancelled sitcom “Lucky Louie” that starred comedian Louis C.K., although I loved that show. This is a review of the new Louis C.K. sitcom “Louie” on FX, but it seems strange to me after the odd reception the first series got from critics that he would get another one so quick. Either way, I’m thankful he did.

That said, I had to wait more than a few episodes before I could decide if I really liked it or not. It has elements of the HBO show in it as well as some things borrowed from “Seinfeld,” mostly the comedy club bits. But it also has something else, and it took me a while to pinpoint it. It’s Woody Allen.

It was the loopy old jazz music that first brought this comparison to mind but then it became much clearer. When Woody Allen was in his Annie Hall phase, he was still funny, but there was also the hint that he was trying to say something about his world, our world. This is what Louis C.K. is doing. It’s sharp, subtle and clever.

There is of course the problem of its lead-in, “Rescue Me,” which in the last season became a sad parody of itself, and so far this season, two episodes in, it has become a humorless cartoon. I hope it doesn’t affect “Louie.” Hopefully he’ll be luckier with FX than he was with HBO. Check it out, well worth your time.

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Soupy Sales Dies at 83

Veteran of the golden age of television Soupy Sales passed away earlier tonight after a lengthy battle with cancer.

I grew up much too late to have enjoyed his classic TV show “Lunch with Soupy Sales,” and I only knew from legend his stunt of asking kids to raid their parents’ purses and wallets and send the funny green pieces of paper to him. The story is different every time I hear it to this day. I wonder how seriously or how jokingly Soupy asked.

My memories of Soupy were of his appearances as a panelist on “What’s My Line?” as well as other game shows and sitcoms. I remembered an aborted attempt at trying a variety show again in the 1970s that was abysmal, and the not so bad “Junior Almost Anything Goes” that he hosted. Later I remember a radio rivalry with the then rising star Howard Stern. By that time the man was sadly considered a has-been by much of the public – and Stern’s methods of vanquishing foes certainly didn’t help.

Toward the end of his career he appeared as Professor Prophet in the low budget softcore Roger Corman superhero series “Black Scorpion.” Sales was no stranger to film, having his own starring vehicle in “Birds Do It” in 1966. He even did voice work for cartoons and was on Broadway as well.

Soupy Sales, despite the last few years out of the spotlight, was still one of the icons of the early days of television. He’ll be missed.

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In a World Without… Don LaFontaine

Comedian

A Film Review of “Comedian”

Copyright 2002 Glenn Walker

This is being advertised as a movie about Jerry Seinfeld returning to stand-up. That’s only about half the picture.

It’s a very confused flick. At times it’s an art film, at times a documentary and sometimes a straight performance film. But only half of it is about Jerry Seinfeld’s struggle to do comedy clubs again after having one of the most successful sitcoms on television.

Comedian could have been just about that but they decided to switch hit. We also see the rise to the top of Orny Adams (yes, his real name), a surly obsessive compulsive manic depressive young comic who could’ve quite easily been the star of this flick. Indeed he overshadows Jerry.

Once we return to Jerry we get bored waiting to go back to the manic antics of Orny and his inability to be happy with his success. I see big things for this guy. Either that or at least entertaining stories in the National Enquirer.

Chris Rock, Bill Cosby, Robert Klein and Colin Quinn all have cameos but only Colin Quinn is funny. Wait for the video and keep a look out for Orny Adams.