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Mama Mia!: "Vicki Lawrence & Mama, A Two-Woman Show," February 12 in Bettendorf PDF Print E-mail
News/Features - Comedy
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 10 February 2009 19:34

Vicki Lawrence as Thelma HarperFor more than 30 years, Emmy-winning performer Vicki Lawrence has been best known for her signature character of Thelma "Mama" Harper, the snippy, drawling, and incredibly lovable matriarch she played opposite Carol Burnett, Harvey Korman, and Tim Conway on the long-running variety series The Carol Burnett Show. She subsequently revived the role for seven seasons on the sitcom Mama's Family, and both shows - to say nothing of the role itself - have proven so enduringly popular that Lawrence has a pretty fair idea of what age group Mama most appeals to nowadays: All of them.

"She's really never been off the air since she went on the air," says Lawrence. "I mean, [Mama's Family] has run and run in reruns like the little Energizer Bunny. So the demographic of my audience is just incredible. I mean, it can be 90-year-old men and it can be 20-year-old college kids."

On February 12, this comedic Energizer Bunny - and the Emmy-winning star who plays her - will perform at Bettendorf's Quad-Cities Waterfront Convention Center in Vicki Lawrence & Mama: A Two-Woman Show, and during our recent phone interview, Lawrence discussed Thelma Harper's ceaseless popularity, the influence of late co-star Korman, and the abandonment of Lawrence's youthful dream of one day marrying a rich dentist.

"Jackass" Without the Stunts: No Budget TV Films at Racer’s Edge, January 31 PDF Print E-mail
News/Features - Comedy
Written by Mike Schulz   
Monday, 26 January 2009 15:18

the No Budget TV logoC.J. Crawford, creator of the local YouTube series No Budget TV, has a lot of people to thank for his sketch comedy's burgeoning popularity: co-writer and collaborator Joe Lee; the friends and musicians who participate without pay; the 100-plus subscribers to the series' channel.

But whether she knows it or not, there's one other person to whom Crawford owes a debt of gratitude: Miley Cyrus.

Beyond Offensive: Louis C.K., December 14 and 15 at Penguins Comedy Club PDF Print E-mail
News/Features - Comedy
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Wednesday, 12 December 2007 02:26

Louis C.K. Emmy-winning comedian Louis C.K. understands that some of the words he uses are offensive to many people, and that many people don't want to hear the things he talks about. His goal, he said, is to get beyond the offensive, and to find some truth. He wants people to laugh at things that might ordinarily make them wince.

"When people know you're being honest, they're just interested in hearing what you have to say," he said in a recent phone interview. "Because it's really just talk. It's harmless."

Controlling the Beast: Carlos Mencia, at the Adler Theatre November 10 PDF Print E-mail
News/Features - Comedy
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 07 November 2007 10:25

Carlos Mencia "The fact that people actually get offended at a joke is unbelievable to me," says Carlos Mencia, host of Comedy Central's sketch-comedy series Mind of Mencia. "Especially one coming from a comedian. Our intent is to make people laugh, and even if we miss, what a noble thing to do - to try to put a smile on somebody's face. And to take that and turn it into something bad? That's just ridiculous.

Never Follow a Hypnotist: Recollections, Reflections, and Advice from Veteran ComedySportz Players PDF Print E-mail
News/Features - Comedy
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 11 July 2007 03:00

Issue 641 Like most family reunions, this one starts with a scrapbook.

I'm sitting with three of the early, still-active members of Rock Island's improvisational comedy troupe, ComedySportz: Jeff Adamson, Don Abbott, and Brad Hauskins. Original team member - and current Californian - Tom Hart is joining us, and for this gathering of improv veterans, Jeff has brought along an album, filled with ComedySportz photographs and news clippings from the early 1990s.

Some of those in the photos are still with the organization. Most aren't. And when Brad lands on a picture that features the smiling visages of Jeff, Don, Tom, and himself, he's quick to point out that something else is no longer with the organization, either.

"Look at that," Brad says, pointing at a 15-years-younger version of himself. "Hair."

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