Category Archives: Comedy

Jimmy Fallon 9.19.13 Thought of the Day

“They say a dog is a man´s best friend. That´s if you´re lucky enough to get one of those “friendly” dogs.” — Jimmy Fallon

[Image Courtesy Salon.com]

[Image Courtesy Salon.com]

James Thomas Fallon was born on this day in Brooklyn, New York, USA  in 1974. He is 39 years old.

He is the younger child of  Gloria and James Fallon. His older sister is also named Gloria. The Fallons moved to the town of Saugerties in Upstate, New York where Fallon attended St. Mary of the Snow elementary school and Saugerties High School. He went to The College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York where he studied Computer Programming for three years before changing his major to Communications and dropping out. (He later completed his degree.)

Fallon did stand up and some minor television work before landing a spot on Saturday Night Live on NBC in  1998. He left the show in 2004 to focus on films. In 2009 he returned to the small screen with his own talk show, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.  It was recently announced that Fallon will replace Jay Leno for the coveted Tonight Show spot when Leno retires in 2014.

Here’s his special take on Willow Smith’s Whip My Hair Back and Forth (he somehow got the Boss to stop by too)

And here’s the best version of The Reading Rainbow theme song (in which Fallon channels Jim Morrison) you’ll ever see:

He has written songs (Your Idiot Boyfriend and Car Wash For Peace) and books (I Hate This Place: The Pessimist’s Guide to Life). 

His movies include:

  • Whip It
  • Fever Pitch (Not the Colin Firth one)
  • Factory Girl
  • Taxi
  • Year of Getting to Know Us

He was even in Band of Brothers! (Episode: Crossroads)

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Claire Danes

“It’s very difficult to judge yourself. Extreme self-doubt is only attractive when it’s fictionalized. Which is why people love the movies. They are so reassuring.”– Claire Danes

[Image Courtesy: Fan Quarterly.com]

[Image Courtesy: Fan Quarterly.com]

Claire Catherine Danes was born on this day in  New York City, New York, USA in 1979. She is 34 years old.

She was born to “Chris, an architectural photographer turned computer consultant, and Carla, a textile designer.” [People.com] She has an older brother named Asa. The family lived in the Soho area of New York when she was growing up. When Danes was 5 she saw Madonna on TV and she knew she wanted to be a performer. By 6 she was taking modern dance classes. Her focus soon changed to acting and she attended a number of top ranked schools that feed both her academic and dramatic needs…Dalton School, New York, the Lee Strasberg Theater Institute, The New York City Lab School for Collaborative Studies, The Professional Performing Arts School and Lycée Français de Los Angeles.

Her film debut came at 13  in a short film called Dreams of Love.

Angela Chase (Claire Danes) and Jordan Catalan...

Angela Chase (Claire Danes) and Jordan Catalano (Jared Leto) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

She had a half dozen shorts and TV guest roles before landing her big break in the TV series My So Called Life.

Angela Chase, an inquisitive everygirl dealing with the common struggles of high school and adolescence. The Washington Post’s Tom Shales describes Danes as “deep and mercurial and strikingly complex.” [Ibid]

The same year she played Beth in  Little Women with Christian Bale and Winona Ryder.

She made 12 movies in the next five years, Including:

  • How to Make an American Quilt (again with Ryder)
  • Home for the Holidays (made in my hometown of Baltimore)
"Clair Danes to  join 'The Flock'"

“Clair Danes to join ‘The Flock'” (Photo credit: Lloyd Dewolf)

Then she took a break from Hollywood to attend Yale University. She took her time returning to the big screen, opting for smaller roles in films like The Hours and Terminator 3.

She shared leading “lady” status with co-star Billy Crudup in Stage Beauty, a film about where “A female theatre dresser creates a stir and sparks a revolution in seventeenth century London theatre by playing Desdemona in Othello.” [IMDb –Stage Beauty] It was a challenging role.  Danes says: “I was intimidated. There was the accent, the period of the film, and I had to act badly. I kept laughing during those scenes because I was god-awful. I’ve worked so hard to be good, and now I had to work even harder to be bad.”

She followed Stage Beauty with a couple of RomComs (Shop Girl and The Family Stone), an ensemble drama (Evening— where she met her husband Hugh Dancy)  and the fantasy Stardust (an adaptation of the Neil Gaiman novel).

Danes as a fallen star in Stardust [Image courtesy: About.com]

Danes as a fallen star in Stardust [Image courtesy: About.com]

The same year (2007) she made her Broadway debut  at the Roundabout Theatre Company’s production of George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion.

In 2010 she did a Emmy winning turn in Temple Grandin. The HBO movie is about “an autistic woman who has become one of the top scientists in the humane livestock handling industry.” [IMDb — Temple Grandin]  Danes won an Emmy for her role in the film. She won another Emmy (and two People’s Choice Awards) for her role in Homeland on Showtime. The show, which co-stars Damian Lewis is in production for its third season.

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Second Character Saturday: Jim Halpert 2.2.13

Who: Jim Halpert/ Tim Canterbury

jimhalpertVStimcanterbury

From: The OFFICE (US/UK)

Played by:  John Krasinski / Martin Freeman

Created by: The US version of the Office was adapted from the UK series for an American audience by Greg Daniels  / The British version of the Office was  created by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant

Date first appeared: 2005 / 2001

Jim attends an office Halloween party as s"Three whole Jim"

Jim attends an office Halloween party as “Three Whole Punch Jim” [Image courtesy: NBC]

Why: Is there a more “everyman” currently on television than Jim Halpert? His dogged humility, humor, kindness, and all around good guy-ness has appealed to audiences since the Office appeared on NBC’s schedule in 2005. Actually the character originated on the BBC as part of the Gervais/Merchant original Office in 2001.

Martin Freeman in the BBC's The Office (Image courtesy the BBC)

Martin Freeman in the BBC’s The Office (Image courtesy the BBC)

Martin Freeman (yes, today’s Bilbo and Dr. Watson) played put upon Tim Canterbury to Gervais’ David Brent.  Jim/Tim play the straight man to Michael/David and annoying co-worker Dwight / Gareth. There is also a certain Cinderella thread running in Jim/Tim’s story with Pam/Dawn the receptionist.

Pros: Friendly, creative, funny, inclusive.

Cons: Unmotivated, somewhat insecure, indecisive, competitive with Dwight/Gareth

Shining moment: My favorite Jim moment is when Michael and Dwight are away and he and Pam cook up the Office Olympics.

It helps that both John Krasinski and Martin Freeman are such good comic actors. Both men can evoke a lot of emotions without saying a word (something Krasinki had to do when he lost a jinx to Pam and couldn’t talk for most of an episode.)

Here’s a sampling of Freeman’s emotional facial expressions:

tim Canterbury faces

In general the BBC version of the show runs a little more on the blue  than it’s American off shoot. Garreth is more insufferable, the boss, David, is more slimy. That makes Tim’s road even more pathetic than Jim’s.

But Jim Halpert has had several more seasons to develop. The American version of the Office is still on the air and Jim is continuing to grow as a character. Here’s a youtube video featuring Krasinski’s Jim faces:

I think Jim or Tim would be an asset to any office.

So have you seen the BBC version? Who is your favorite? AND do you think Jim Harper (from HBO’s Newsroom) is the next generation Jim Halpert?   Discuss.

John Gallagher Jr. plays good guy Jim Harper on HBO's Newsroom. [Image courtesy HBO]

John Gallagher Jr. plays good guy Jim Harper on HBO’s Newsroom. [Image courtesy HBO]


Sterling Holloway 1.4.13 Thought of the day

“If you do not know where you are going, any road will take you there.”
–Sterling Holloway

Image courtesy deviantart.com

Image courtesy deviantart.com

 

Sterling Price Holloway, Jr. was born on this day in Cedartown, Georgia, USA in 1905. Today is the 107th anniversary of his birth.

 

The Holloways owned a grocery story in Cedartown and were prominent citizens the town. His father was mayor for a while when Sterling was in elementary school. He went to the Georgia Military Academy and got his first taste of acting while performing in school plays there. Upon graduating from the GMA at 15  he went to New York and enrolled in the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. He worked with the Shepherd of the Hills touring stock company.

 

On stage he worked in musicals, vaudeville shows and reviews. He gained national attention in 1925 when he introduced the song Manhattan (as in “We’ll have Manhattan, The Bronx and Staten Island too…”)  by Rodgers and Hart. The following year he had another hit with “Mountain Greenery” also by the song writing duo.

 

Primed for success he moved to Hollywood to try his hands at the movies. He started in silent films with The Battling Kangaroo.  He made several silents, but when a director told him he was “too repulsive” for the screen he went back to the stage for a few years. He returned after the stock market crash. The studios were switching to talkies, and the money was good.

 

His bushy reddish-blond hair and trademark near-falsetto voice made him a natural for sound pictures, and he acted in scores of talkies, although he had made his picture debut in silents. His physical image and voice relegated him almost exclusively to comic roles, [IMDB]

 

To say he was prolific would be an understatement. Holloway made 19 movies in 1933 alone. He preferred to play in ensemble movies. When Louis B. Mayer offered him a contract at MGM he turned it down because he didn’t want to be a star.

 

In the 1930s and 40s, the lanky redhead who had a knack for playing country bumpkin roles appeared in such films as “Gold Diggers of 1933,” with Dick Powell, and “Blonde Venus,” with Marlene Dietrich.[Disney.go.com]

 

Soon his unusual voice came to the attention of Walt Disney and in 1941 Holloway made his first movie  for the Walt Disney company voicing the part of Mr. Stork in Dumbo.

 

His first Disney performance led to subsequent voice roles including, the adult Flower in “Bambi” and the Cheshire Cat in “Alice in Wonderland.” Sterling also played Kaa, the snake, in “The Jungle Book,” in which he sang the memorable song “Trust in Me.” His most beloved role, however, was as the voice of Winnie the Pooh in such featurettes as the Academy Award-winning “Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day.“[Ibid]

 

 

He was also featured in The Three Caballeros, the Aristocats and he narrated Peter and the Wolf.

 

Sterling Holloway

Sterling Holloway (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Later in his career he work in television, guest starring on a score of episodic and variety shows.

 

Holloway died at the age of 87 in Los Angeles.

 

 

 

 


Ray Romano 12.21.12 Thought of the Day

“I’ve always wondered, what am I going to do that’s important with these stupid jokes that I tell,”
Ray Romano

English: Ray Romano at the Night of Comedy 9 b...

Raymond Albert Romano was born on this day in Queens, New York, USA in 1957. He is 55 years old.

Son of a piano teacher and a real estate agent/engineer, Romano and his brothers grew up in the Forest Hills area of Queens. The Romano boys attended Our Lady Queen of Martyrs until high school. Ray went to Archbishop Molloy High School before transferring to Hillcrest High School from which he graduated in 1975. He briefly attended Queens College as an Accounting major before dropping out to start his stand up comedian career.

After working for years in stand up he made the move to TV. His first gigs came in the form of guest roles on Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist, Cosby, The Nanny and  Becker.

In 1996 he got his big break, the starring role in a national television comedy, Everybody Loves Raymond. The show, which drew loosely from Romano’s real-life Italian American family stories, won 2 Emmy Awards and Romano won an Outstanding Lead Actor Emmy in 2002. It ran for nine seasons.

The five principal characters during an argume...

The five principal characters during an argument. Episode: “The Can Opener” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Romano voiced the part of Manfred, the depressed Wooly Mammoth in Ice Age in 2002 (a role he would revise in countless sequels.) He played the local hardware store guy who runs against the former President of the United States for mayor of Mooseport in Welcome to Mooseport in 2004.

More guest spots followed, both on television and on the big screen.

In 2009 he joined Andre Braugher and Scott Bakula for the comedy-drama series Men of a Certain Age. Romano played Joe Tranelli, he is also one of the shows creators. While the show only lasted two years it garnered critical acclaim for both its writing and acting.

[Image courtesy: Men of Certain Age/ TNT]

[Image courtesy: Men of Certain Age/ TNT]

Currently you can catch Romano on Parenthood. He is Hank Rizzoli, Sarah’s new boss at a photography studio.

Ray Romano

Ray Romano (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


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