Reviews Archives - The Laugh Button

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  • Lavell Crawford: a big, hilarious man in Montclair

    Lavell Crawford

    Last Friday, I had the pleasure of watching Lavell Crawford from front row seats at the Wellmont Theatre in Montclair, NJ. To put it lightly, he brought the house down. From the moment he took the stage, it was a rare moment the audience wasn’t laughing.

    There aren’t many comics who can make an audience laugh nonstop from start to finish; even the greatest have tame moments amidst their set. Crawford was an exception. His act evoked more laughs than anyone I have ever seen, which includes my favorites Louis C.K., Bill Burr, and Dave Chappelle. I’ve seen them all and none of them got the amount of laughs Lavell got. Admittedly I have seen Reggie Watts destroy on several occasions, but his performance is a different model from stand up altogether, and typically I’m in a different state of mind too. Read More

    Ryan Beck, Greg Stone, and Yamaneika Saunders slay at Sweet Wine Productions Showcase

    Sweet Wine ProductionsDecember 11th 2014 A.D. I spent the evening at Stand Up NY for the Sweet Wine Productions Showcase. On display were 9 comics from their current roster. This next wave of comedians were ushered in by Last Comic Standing Alum Monroe Martin who took care of hosting duties for the evening. Monroe made it feel more like a hang at a friend’s house than a showcase at a comedy club, which added to the charm as the comics watched supportively in the wings for their 6 minutes. Stand out performances included Ryan Beck, described as the Bradley Cooper of stand-up comedy by Monroe and who’s written for three Comedy Central Roasts to date. Greg Stone, who enlightened us with his stories from time spent working in the emergency room. And Chris Laker who garnered a rousing applause-break with his take on gay marriage. Closing out the night was comedienne Yamaneika Saunders who we hear may be appearing on the currently titled Funny Girls. A docu-series showcasing up-and-coming female comediennes in L.A. for the Oxygen Network.

    Info on Sweet Wine Productions and their current roster: Sweet Wine Productions Website

    Here’s the complete list of the evenings performers: Read More

    Martin Freeman hosted “Saturday Night Live” and there was a Hobbit in The Office

    Martin Freeman - SNL

    When it was announced that Martin Freeman was going to host SNL we thought he’d handle the job really well. Particularly because he has an everyman-type of quality that would make him a great straight-man in sketches (and he did). Freeman delivered a great performance and we didn’t have much of a doubt. The night turned out some sketches that will go down as best of the year and introduced a new Weekend Update character to the world. Freeman and co turned in one of the strongest episodes of the season, which makes it back-to-back solids. Can we get three this month? Read More

    James Franco hosted “Saturday Night Live”: addresses Sony hacks, yelled at a 4 year-old kid, and grew a guy

    James Franco is an interesting guy. He does some truly weird things in the name of art and to follow his muse. He’s also, in what seems by total accident, a pretty funny guy when he’s in pretty funny moments. On the other hand, Saturday Night Live, well any sketch show really, has its ups and downs. For every sketch you tell your friends about, there’s ones you just plain forget because it didn’t stick with you. Most of season 40 of SNL has been like this, some moments you talk about, and some groans about others. It’s this exact reason it’s silly to romanticize specific eras of the show or declare one cast as better than the other. SNL works best when it’s commenting on politics and the buzz of the times. Because of this, a risk in one generation seems silly to the next. Keep saying “in my day,” and see where that gets ya grandpa.

    Season 40 has been a microcosm of the last 40 years of SNL. Ups and downs between weeks and even between sketch to sketch. Franco turned in a fine performance for us all, when he had good material to work with, he was great, when he didn’t, it was painfully obvious. The writers turned in a solid episode last week and were hoping to return with Franco for his third go ’round of the show. Franco was down to play ball, brought his The Interview co-host and BFF Seth Rogen along for the ride and for the most part they were a lot of fun. While Nicki Minaj continues to make me question why she’s famous because, I still don’t get it. Read More

    Cameron Diaz hosted “Saturday Night Live”: Turkey time in New York City

    Cameron Diaz was the host of Saturday Night Live and Mystical was a drop in musical guest. Yes, you read those words and its not 2002. Diaz is hosting the show to promote her starring in the upcoming Annie movie, so there’s a guarantee we’ll see a spoof sketch of that. But, if there would be a sketch of her wearing Ben Stiller’s “hair gel,” now that’s something that would surprise me.

    As for the show itself, it appeared the writers had already checked out for the long holiday weekend, because this night brought as few laughs as an episode could get. There wasn’t much to the evening really, the cold open was a simple, “how ’bout we throw Kenan down some steps?” joke, then Diaz opened the monologue with a clunky Thanksgiving joke and things didn’t really move more from them.

    Aside from a fun revisiting of the all girl song, “Back Home Baller,” there wasn’t much that really hit on the episode. The monologue was a bit half-assed and that was the best we got throughout the entire evening. A far cry of the classic vintage episode NBC ran earlier that same evening. Let’s run it down. Read More

    Woody Harrelson hosted “Saturday Night Live” there were pot jokes and The Dudleys

    Woody Harrelson SNLThe last time Woody Harrelson hosted Saturday Night Live it was 1989. That seems like an eternity ago. It’s also an entire Taylor Swift ago. Something the host acknowledges in the opening monologue. It’s and impressive feat for anyone to remain in the entertainment biz for so long. With the release of the latest installment of The Hunger Games and the rave reviews from this summer’s True Detective, Harrelson has managed to plug into an entirely new audience. Now, if he just could’ve gotten that attention off Zombieland.

    How did Harrelson do as host of SNL this week? In a nutshell, pretty great. Sometimes the best SNL episodes are the ones where you aren’t sure of the host (Josh Hutcherson) and sometimes the slam dunk just isn’t (Chris Rock). Harrelson’s episode fell in the latter. It was the first time in a long time this season where it appears the new cast and writers seem to gel and feel totally confident about delivering both pre-recorded and live sketches. Now can we stop using the phrase “transition” and haters hating? Harrellson was placed in sketches that played up his goofy demeanor, straight man ability, and affinity for “alternative” recreation, each providing for quirky moments and fun times. There was good social commentary on current events, sports, politics, and drugs. We had True Detective spoofs, awkward makeout scenes, and the Dudleys! Read More

    Chris Rock hosted “Saturday Night Live,” but Prince rocked

    Expectations were pretty high for Saturday Night Live this week. That’s because this week’s host was Chris Rock, not only a former cast member but also one of the funniest comedians in the world. How would Rock (who was promoting his new film Top Five) do with his second time hosting SNL?

    Well unfortunately, the night was filled with more awkward moments than it was with laugh out loud riots. Read More

    Jim Carrey hosted “Saturday Night Live” and fancy danced with Iggy Azalea

    It was his third go ’round as host of Saturday Night Live last night. Make no mistake about it, Carry is a comedy genius who helped define sketch comedy for a generation of people. But a large boombastic episode was not what we got last night. It’s been nearly 20 years since Carrey was one of the biggest comedians on the planet and his physical comedy is rivaled by very few, but even he was unable to do much with the material he was given.

    There were some bright moments, just less than we expected. Lets take it to the tape. Read More

    Bill Hader hosted “Saturday Night Live”: Stefon is pregnant

    …and Seth Meyers is the father!

    Whenever an SNL alum returns to the show there’s two things we can bet the farm on 1) 1 or their classic characters will be revived for nostalgia and 2) We’ll more than likely see another alum (usually from the same cast) show up and play along with them. Yes, we realize this comes on the heels of none of these happening last week when Sarah Silverman hosted, but that episode was the outlier to this phenomenon. Read More

    Sarah Silverman hosted “Saturday Night Live,” with Joan Rivers roasts, Ebola, River Sisters, and blenders

    Sarah Silverman SNL bumper

    When a former Saturday Night Live cast member shows up to host, it’s usually a round of reviving old characters they portrayed on a nonstop nostalgia tour. However, we’re in an interesting predicament with Sarah Silverman at the lead. Silverman was only on the show for one season and she didn’t appear in much, something she does reference in her monologue. So rather than worry about that, we got to see Silverman work her magic in sketches that mostly felt underwritten or executed. Silverman has plenty of sketch experiences that shined when she was given something great to work with (pre-recorded sketches) or was on her own (monologue). Read More