Ted Greenberg's The Complete Performer

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The Top Five Saturday Night Live Hosts

Categories: Comedy Shows
Posted: April 30, 2012
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Last week, I wrote about the top late night talk and variety comedy shows filmed in New York. It’s no surprise that Saturday Night Live, now celebrating its 37th season, sat atop my list. The long-running show has launched many comedy careers (hello Chevy Chase, Mike Myers, Adam Sandler, and the list goes on and on) and at various points in its nearly four-decade history, the show has created many water cooler moments.
 
Today, I take a look at the best SNL hosts of all-time. Now, it’s universally acknowledged that Steve Martin, who has fronted the show 15 times, was instrumental in the early days of the show. His outrageous characters helped to set the standard for hosts for years to come. So, I’m leaving him off this list and ranking five other people who have left an indelible mark on the show.
 
5. Christopher Walken — The Continental sketch has proved so popular that he’s performed it on more than one episode. Possibly one of the most off-kilter hosts, Walken is known for his off-center line delivery, which he attributes to being a dancer. His musical warble of a voice comes from the fact that he talks like a hoofer. And, this works perfectly for a show like SNL.
 
The Continental sketch
 

4. Justin Timberlake
— What a surprise. The Sexy Back singer is a natural fit for Saturday Night Live. He’s been a host and musical guest. But, few hosts have created as much buzz as Timberlake, particularly in his never-forget-them musical ditties with Andy Samberg. The song’s videos went viral within hours, and everyone knew about Dick in a Box and MotherLover. Here’s the NSFW video for MotherLover, featuring Susan Sarandon and Patricia Clarkson as the moms who need some loving.
 

 
3. Betty White — Who was hotter than this octogenarian (she’s now 90!)
when she hosted the show two years ago? No one. And the ratings proved it — spiking for the first time in 18 months. No surprise since a massive Facebook campaign led to her appearance on the show. There’s a reason White has been on some of the most important comedy TV shows of all time — The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Golden Girls — and that her career has spanned 60 years. She’s hilarious. And, her high octane approach to SNL proved to be a real winner.
 
Betty White on Saturday Night Live
 

2. Alec Baldwin
— Few people are as comfortable at 30 Rock as Alec Baldwin. It’s no wonder that he’s now the all-time host leader with 16 appearances. Equally facile with comedy and drama, Baldwin is particularly attuned at playing boisterous, larger than life characters, and his deadpan delivery sets him apart from his peers. His stunning turns as SNL host led to one of the greatest comic parts — Jack — on the TV show 30 Rock.
 
Alec Baldwin on Saturday Night Live
 
1. John Goodman – Goodman had tried out for the show in the 1980s, but didn’t make the cut as a cast member. That’s great news for American comedy because he rocked it out as the doting dad on Roseanne, which was the no. 1 comedy TV show in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He’s hosted the show 12 times — only behind Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin in appearances. And, there’s a great reason why. He’s hilarious and great at playing diverse characters.
 
John Goodman on Saturday Night Live



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Comedian Picks Five Favorite Greenwich Village Spots

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Posted: April 26, 2012
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A few weeks ago I ranked my top five Village places for Ladies Night Out; Greenwich Village, one of New York’s most historic neighborhoods, also looks good in the light of day. Here are a few of my favorite places — both old school and new wave — to visit.
 
Envelope please….
 
5. Varsano Chocolates. If you walk down West 4th Street, stop in this delicious cholocate store. We’re particularly fond of the dark chocolate sea salt caramel and the coconut chewies. But, you cannot go wrong with any of the handcrafted mouth-watering chocolate. Pick up a few pieces to take with you while you hang out at #4 on this list. Tell Marc that Ted Greenberg and Mascot Greenberg sent you.
 
Ted Greenberg and Mascot Greenberg at Varsano's Chocolate
 
4. Basketball Court at West 4th St. — The great thing about New York is that some of the best places are free or cheap. You don’t always have to blow $20 on a cocktail or $60 on truffle oil mac and cheese. Sometimes, you can watch a pick up basketball game or handball games and revel in the sunshine. The competition at this West 4th Court is stiff. And not just on the court. Trying to snag a good viewing spot can be rough on sunny days, but it’s worth a look no matter what.
 
Ted Greenberg and Mascot Greenberg at West 4th Street courts
 
3. Elegant Nails — Mascot Greenberg and I must look good for our fans at our weekly late night comedy show — Ted Greenberg’s The Complete Performer. Elegant Nails, located on Sixth Avenue, keeps us pampered with reasonably priced pedicures and manicures and great massages. Airy and spacious, the salon exudes a relaxing vibe from the moment you walk in from the busy Manhattan street. Reading about Kim Kardashian also helps put us in a great mood. Just what a guy and his mascot needs to chill out.
 
Don’t just trust me. Elegant Nails gets a 4.5 rating on Yelp.
 
Ted Greenberg, Mascot Greenberg, Kim Kardashian
 
2. Gray’s Papaya. Few things say New York more than yellow cabs, the Statue of Liberty and hot dogs. Grab a couple and you won’t break the bank. Located on the prime corner of 6th Avenue and West 8th Street, the store’s windows offer the perfect vantage point to watch New Yorkers stroll by. If you need some healthy fare to balance out your hot dogs, LifeThyme, a Village staple, is just a couple of doors down. Munch on the homemade kale chips or vegan cheese popcorn.
 
Ted Greenberg and Mascot Greenberg at Gray's Papaya
 
1. Milk & Cookies. If I could write sonnets, I would write them by the baker’s dozen for this bakery. Charming, friendly staff and cookies to die for. Just ask the Mascot. You can design your own cookies, but why would you when what they serve is so scrumptious? Try the ice cream sandwiches — you can choose what cookies to put on either end of your ice cream. Uncroyable! And, they let the Mascot get behind the wheel of their adorable (and eco-friendly) delivery car.
 
Ted Greenberg and Mascot Greenberg at Milk and Cookies
 
Mascot Greenberg and Ted Greenberg at Milk & Cookies



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Top Four Late Night Shows Filmed in New York City

Categories: Comedy Shows
Posted: April 23, 2012
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Last week I ranked my favorite TV comedies taped in New York City. In continuing my love letter to New York City and its creativity, this week I take a look at the top four late night/talk shows, one of which I wrote for.
 
4. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. The longest running show in Comedy Central, The Daily Show improved exponentially when Jon Stewart took over in 1999. The fake news succeeds on many levels, revealing the inconsistencies and let’s face it stupidity from politicians on both sides of the aisle. In an election year, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart is must see TV.
 
Daily Show with Jon Stewart
 
3. The Colbert Report. Colbert gets our two thumbs up. Politics never seemed so inane, yet hilarious. Thank goodness the world has Stephen Colbert to save it from ignorance. Colbert’s incisive attacks on idiocy are a godsend and a much needed voice in today’s crazed world. And it’s refreshing when being smart and being funny go hand in hand.
 
Stephen Colbert
 
2. Late Night with David Letterman. I had the great privilege to write for this show in its early days, and there is nothing like Letterman for pure, absurdist humor. And, his top 10 list is the thing of legend. Everyone has tried to copy it, but nothing compares to the original. Still going strong after 30 years.
 
David Letterman
 
1. Saturday Night Live. For longevity alone, Saturday Night Live sets an impressive standard — 37 seasons and counting. It’s hard to imagine much of mainstream American comedy on film and TV without SNL. Steve Martin, Dan Akroyd, Gilda Radner, Tina Fey, Chevy Chase, Eddie Murphy, Mike Myers, Dana Carvey, Will Ferrell, Bill Murray, Jimmy Fallon, Kristen Wiig and the list goes on and on. Check out this list of the top SNL skits of all time. Prepare to laugh hard.



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How to Embrace the Unexpected at a Comedy Show

Categories: Comedy Shows
Posted: April 19, 2012
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I hope that saying that things happen in threes is right on the money. As the star of a weekly late night comedy show, Ted Greenberg’s The Complete Performer, I love the spontaneity of performing in front of a live audience. You never know exactly what’s going to happen. The past two weeks’ shows have proven this point again and again — as two unexpected, but hilarious events arose — things that have never happened in the other 175 performances of my show.
 
Two Saturdays ago, a male audience member, in the spirit of fun, took off his shirt, and was such a hit with the audience that he kept it off until the conclusion of the show. Sure, you had to be there to get the full experience, but here’s a picture of the man, whose grand gesture earned him my full praise and the audience’s love. Now, there’s no expectation for anyone to disrobe at my show so I doubt this will ever happen again. And, that’s precisely what made it incredibly funny.
 
Having fun at Ted Greenberg's The Complete Performer
 
Every week, one lucky audience group wins a free cab ride home or to their next destination in New York City, with me at the wheel. Most people are overjoyed to win the cab ride and be whisked away from the SoHo Playhouse in style. Not so for Megan. Last Saturday, she boldly asked if she could receive the cash value of the cab ride instead! Say what? Watch the clip for yourself.
 

 
Now, after these two adventures, I have no idea what to expect for this Saturday night, but bring it on.



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Top Five Comedy Shows Taped in New York City

Categories: Comedy Shows
Posted: April 16, 2012
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New York City is a hotbed of comedy. On any given night, you can check out one of New York’s top comedy clubs, experience mind-blowing improv or just enjoy what happens on the mean streets. The chance to laugh is always just around the corner.
 
Hundreds of TV shows have been set in the Big Apple, but filmed in the City of Angels. Today, I give a big shout out to the top five comedy scripted comedy shows taped in my beloved city. Not only were they set in New York, but they also were taped here. Today, I’m focusing on fictional comedy shows as opposed to late night and variety comedy show. Check back next Monday to see how I rank those.
 
Here are my top five comedy shows filmed in the Big Apple:
 

5. America’s Next Top Model and Sex and the City.
I had a hard time choosing between these two very different series. ANTM makes the list because the series first few cycles were filmed in New York City, and there are few things funnier than creator/model Tyra Banks’ advice to the fledgling models. “It’s all about the face” can still make me crack up. Sex and the City isn’t a through and through comedy. The series dealt with breast cancer, infertility and Manolo Blahniks. Serious issues indeed. But, the repartee — sometimes too on the nose, but charming nonetheless — among Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha set the series apart. And brought some chuckles too.
 
Sex and the City
 
4. The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd. On the back of the magnetic Blair Brown’s performance as lead character, this under-the-radar comedy makes my list. Besides who doesn’t love a sassy redhead? The show was off center and filmed using only a single camera, which gave a more intimate perspective. Watching Brown juggle Manhattan life was exhilarating as was seeing some stars before they were household names. Think Nathan Lane, Gina Gershon, Samuel L. Jackson, Wesley Snipes, Victor Garber. And the list goes on.
 
The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd
 
3. The Cosby Show. Rumor has it that Bill Cosby was discovered at the famed Gaslight Café in the West Village in the 1960s. Two decades later, his eponymous series rose to the top of the ratings and created lasting memories. Who did not want to be a member of the Huxtable family? Claire and Cliff were professional, devoted parents and proud Brooklynites with five great kids. Cosby mined family life for its humor and made all of us laugh at our own.
 
The Cosby Show
 
2. 30 Rock. It’s been said before: “Write what you know.” Tina Fey has turned that edict into comedy gold. The former head writer of Saturday Night Live, Fey set 30 Rock in the oh-so-familiar behind-the-scenes world of a late night comedy show. Her straight woman Liz Lemon is surrounded by zany characters: Tracy (Tracy Morgan), Jenna (Jane Krakowski) and Kenneth (Jack McBrayer) and impossible situations. And don’t forget about Jack Donaghy, Alec Baldwin’s pitch perfect boss. It’s no surprise the show’s won three Emmys for Outstanding Comedy Series.
 
30 Rock
 
1. The Honeymooners. There are only 39 episodes to this beloved series starring Jackie Gleason, Audrey Meadow, Art Carney and Joyce Randolph as two couples living in Brooklyn. The series is heralded for its spontaneity, due primarily for Gleason’s dislike of rehearsal, and the chemistry among the four stars. A half century after its first incarnation, The Honeymooners remains one of the most influential comedy series. You cannot turn the dial without seeing a pretty, slim woman married to a large and larger-than-life husband.
 



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Top Five Things to Do in New York This Weekend

Categories: Latest News
Posted: April 12, 2012
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The Big Apple is the best city on earth. Cultural, sports and innovative opportunities abound. You can take in a show on Broadway, catch a top level sports game or visit one of the city’s amazing museums. The only difficult part is what to choose. There are so many choices that New Yorkers sometimes have option paralysis.
 
As a late night Saturday night performer in my Off-Broadway comedy show Ted Greenberg’s The Complete Performer, I’ve got my pulse on what to see. Here are my top five recommendations for this weekend.
 
Check out:
 
5) Daily Show Live at 92Y Tribeca — Emmy-winning writer and executive producer Rory Albanese brings together a number of writers from the hit show for a night of comedy. Now, it’s tonight, Thursday, April 12th. Let’s face it. New Yorkers are always ahead of the curve and ready to start the weekend a day early.
 
4) Star Quality: The World of Noel Coward at the New York Public Library. One of the titans of theater, Coward wrote incisive comedies that are still relevant today. Earlier this season Kim Cattrall starred in a new production of his play Private Lives. Learn more about this witty master.
 
3) Yankees Home Opening Weekend — The Bronx Bombers are finally home and opening the season versus the Los Angeles Angels. You have three chances to catch Derek Jeter and co in action over the weekend. If you cannot go, read my predictions for the season.
 
2) The Graduate at Film Forum. The iconic Mike Nichols’ film turns 45 this year, and Film Forum will showcase a new 35mm print through April 19th. With its iconic line, “You’re trying to seduce me, Mrs. Robinson….aren’t you?,” the film has been hailed a “generational milestone” by Time Out. Now, here’s a chance to see why.
 
The Graduate film
 
1) Blast Radius by Mac Rogers. This is the top reason to trek to Long Island City this weekend. A New York Times Critic’s Pick, Rogers play uses science fiction to mine the humor and heart of humanity. The play is a must see.
 
Blast Radius, play by Mac Rogers



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Baseball Opening Day Swings Open for the Mets and Yankees

Categories: Latest News
Posted: April 9, 2012
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Hope springs eternal for baseball fans. America’s pastime is back in action. The Mets started their season at home a few days ago while the Yankees’ home opener is Friday, April 13th, an auspicious start date indeed.
 
In keeping with the Mayan tradition, here are my 2012 predictions for the Amazins and the House that Ruth Built:
 
Baseball Opening Day
 
5) This will be the only time all season that the Mets are 3 games over .500 and the Yankees are 3 games below. Somehow David Wright and company swept longtime nemesis Atlanta Braves while the Tampa Bay Rays took it to the Yankees. The Mets, though, are predictable. Predictably good at falling apart. Mark my words: this win streak won’t last long.
 
4) Alex Rodriguez recently started using Facebook to connect with his fans. So far, the information he’s shared has been innocuous. Give him a few weeks, and he will share tips about how to win high stakes poker games. $275 million makes you fearless.
 
3) Expect A-Rod to join Twitter soon as well. You can bet he’ll tweet advice about how to pick up hard bodied blondes. I’m ready to take notes #13. Step up to the social media plate.
 
2) Is it any coincidence that the Mets’ and Yankees’ opening days fell on either side of two religious holidays — Easter and Passover? I don’t think so. New York is all of a sudden home to two of the most pious left-handed athletes. Yes, I’m talking about you Andrew Eugene Pettite and New York Jets quarterback Timothy Richard Tebow.
 
1) Mr. Met will try to up his game by taking Zumba classes. Hey, it works for Mascot Greenberg, and we all know that Mr. Met needs to step up his game.



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Top Jewish Comics

Categories: Latest News
Posted: April 5, 2012
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A few weeks ago, I celebrated St. Patrick’s Day by giving a shout out to my four favorite Irish comics. With Passover upon us, it’s time to hail four Jewish comics I’m grateful for. Thank goodness for that lamb’s blood, and the plagues and all of that. From such a tragic situation came a quartet of daring, no holds barred comedians. With a nod to greats Jackie Mason and Woody Allen, I’ve opted to recognize four other working comics.
 
 
4. Amy Schumer. A fast-rising star, Amy has appeared on numerous TV shows — “Curb Your Enthusiam”, “30 Rock” and “Delocated” and is slated to star alongside Steve Carell and Keira Knightley in the film Seeking a Friend for the End of the World. Watch how she handles a heckler in this NSFW video.
 

 

3. Danny Cohen. Whether making his outrageous, weird, helium-infused short films or performing stand up, Cohen delivers. Check out this vintage video from Comedy Central.
 

2. Judy Gold. Judy has parlayed her outsized comic abilities into two successful Off Broadway shows (The Judy Show: My Life as a Sitcom, 25 Questions for a Jewish Mother), appearances on TRU TV Presents World’s Dumbest and stand up special on Comedy Central. She was a breath of fresh air on an episode of the underrated TV show The Glades last season.
 

 

1. Jessica Kirson. She’s a national headliner, a familiar face as a late night TV guest and measured in convulsive laughs. The best club comic in the business. See why she’s so funny in this clip.
 



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Ladies Night Out: Greenwich Village Edition

Categories: Latest News
Posted: April 2, 2012
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Greenwich Village is one of New York’s most historic neighborhoods, a place where art, great food, music and dancing have been at its forefront for decades. The neighborhood was influential in the careers of Djuna Barnes, Jack Kerouac, Bob Dylan, and many more. It has also been a place where Ladies Night Out thrives.
 
I rank my five favorite Ladies Night Out spots in Greenwich Village:
 
5. Zinc Bar — A Village staple, Zinc Bar moved to its much larger digs on West Third from its former home on Houston. Experience music from jazz to fushion to Bossa Nova in an ambient, chill club. Great big tables are perfect for groups.
 
Zinc Bar
 
4. Cafe Wha? — The Village institution gets your heart pumping and your body moving. The house band is smoking hot, playing infectious jams all night long. It’s the perfect venue for groups to enjoy dancing the night away.
 
Cafe Wha
 
3. Tomoe Sushi — One of the most affordable sushi spots in New York. And one of the most popular. You’ll have fun with your girlfriends waiting in line, and once inside, you will love the sushi, which is perfect for sharing among friends. Just a note, the decor is not something to right home about, but I bet you won’t notice with food that good.
 
Tomoe Sushi
 
2. Tortilla Flats — If you like margaritas, bingo, gaudy decor and hula hoops, Tortilla Flats is the place for you. Two of my friends met at one of the game nights and have been married for a decade. Bring the ladies. You’ll have fun with tequila and maybe meet a potential date.
 
Tortilla Flats
 
1. Ayza Wine & Chocolate Bar — I believe comedy and magic go well together. But, nothing beats wine and chocolate. That combo brings on the happy endorphin dance. Ladies can enjoy two of life’s greatest pleasures while catching up at Ayza, one of the best additions to Greenwich Village in the last few years.
 
Ayza Wine Bar
 
For another Ladies Night Out option, check out my weekly show, Ted Greenberg’s The Complete Performer.



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