Ted Greenberg's The Complete Performer

Starring Emmy Award winning Letterman writer, Ted Greenberg!

Comedic Readings of Unlikely Material | Celebrity Autobiography & Yelp Reviews

Categories: Comedy Shows,Latest News
Posted: July 30, 2012

Over the weekend, I stumbled upon a new entry into the world of reading unexpected material. Flavorwire turned me onto the first entry into what I hope will become a much longer series of professional actors reading Yelp reviews. The inaugural reading in which actor Chris Kipiniak, who has been a guest star on The Good Wife and The Black Donnellys, musters all of his Method acting skill in service of a one-star review of a New Jersey diner is comic gold.

Kipiniak’s dramatic reading is intentionally hilarious. But, what’s even more interesting is that he’s reading a Yelp review, which are serious business for restaurants, shows and just about everything else. Millions of people turn to Yelp members’ recommendations every day to figure out how to spend their dollars. And, a one-star review can be very detrimental to a business. I wonder if this reading series will also unveil actors reading over-the-top 5-star reviews too. Only time will tell, but I promise to watch.
The Yelp reading isn’t the only ‘series’ that reads unpredictable material. The 2009 Drama Desk winner Celebrity Autobiography continues its winning ways with an upcoming reading in the Hamptons in August. And, Celebrity Autobiography is just what it sounds like. Celebrities and comedians read from celebrity autobiographies, particularly narcissistic, overblown, sexy and/or funny passages. The phenomenon has taken place all over the country from Clearwater, Florida to Mesa, Arizona.
The upcoming gig at Guild Hall in the Hamptons will feature readers such as Celebrity Autobiography founders Eugene Pack and Dayle Reyfel as well as Emmy-winning actor Alec Baldwin, Ralph Macchio and Scott Adsit. And, these actors and comics will mine the storied writings of Vanna White (about how challenging turning the panels on “Wheel of Fortune” is), the Jonas Brothers (about how their relationship works), Tommy Lee (giving his, yes, romance tips) and Suzanne Somers (as she tries to be a modern Emily Dickinson). And the brilliance of Celebrity Autobiography is that the text is not altered in any way. It is straight from the horse’s, er, celebrity’s mouth. And, there’s nothing funnier than celebrities in their own words.

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Eat Your Heart Out New York | Restaurant Week Continues

Categories: Latest News
Posted: July 26, 2012

NYC Restaurant Week
New York City loves its ‘weeks’. It’s got Fleet Week, Fashion Week and the most mouth-watering of them all: Restaurant Week, now in its 20th year. In truth, Restaurant Week encompasses a few weeks from July 16th through August 10th. Select New York restaurants offer a three-course lunch for $24.07 and a three-course dinner for $35. Most of the deals are Monday through Friday with some restaurants also offering outrageous deals on Sunday.
In SoHo and Greenwich Village, the neighborhoods surrounding SoHo Playhouse where my show Ted Greenberg’s The Complete Performer takes the stage every Saturday night, there are some terrific places to take advantage of Restaurant Week. I rank the top five places to visit during Restaurant Week.
#5 THE DUTCH — This lovely restaurant in the heart of SoHo offers an interesting menu for lunch. Take your pick among the appetizers: Rick’s Arugula with strawberries and Surry Farm’s ham or Watermelon Salad with sugar snaps and handmade sheep’s milk ricotta or White Gazpacho with red ruby shrimp and marcona almonds. The entree offers a choice between halibut and an orecchiette pasta with bacon. For dessert, dive into a peach melba sundae or chocolate semifreddo, rocky road. 131 Sullivan Street.
#4 CENTRO VINOTECA — Located right at Bleecker and 7th Avenue South, this cozy Italian restaurant serves up delicious pasta and a terrific selection of wines. For the Restaurant Week menu, Centro Vinoteca has selections for both meat lovers and vegetarians — salads, meatballs, eggplant parmesan, braised lamb ragu. And the location cannot be beat. 74 Seventh Ave. South
#3 DOS CAMINOS — Go for the drinks — some strong and delicious margaritas — and stay for the Restaurant Week menu, which features chicken and cilantro rice, heirloom tomato gazpacho and more. And, if you’re lucky, dine al fresco. Dos Caminos has one of the best outdoor dining areas, and it’s right on Houston Street, offering the perfect perch to people watch. 475 West Broadway.
#2 LYON — If you’re looking for some delectable French food, you cannot go wrong with Lyon. I’m ready to run over there for the macaroni and cheese with black truffle oil and kale as well as the homemade pate, figs and toast. These sound perfect for a summer meal. And, finish your meal with a strawberry sundae. 118 Greenwich Avenue.
#1 LURE FISHBAR — This restaurant offers the most choices for both lunch and dinner. And, I’m ready to scarf down the dessert — lavender yogurt panna cotta — right now. With four appetizers and four entrees to choose from, if you love fish, there will be something to tempt you. 142 Mercer Street.
Enjoy Restaurant Week while it lasts. And don’t forget to make a reservation via NYCGo.

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Emmy Nominations | Comedy Writing, Directing and Guest Actors

Categories: Comedy Shows,Latest News
Posted: July 23, 2012

Emmy Awards
Last Thursday, I profiled the Emmy Award nominations in the major comedy categories: show, lead actor and actress and supporting actor and actress. Today, I take a look at the comedy writing, directing and guest actor categories.
In a landmark year, two women are nominated in the Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series category: Lena Dunham for the Girls pilot and Amy Poehler for an episode of Parks and Recreation. Poehler has been nominated before in the Lead Comedic Actress category, and Parks and Recreation has been nominated as Outstanding Series. But, this is her first nomination for writing. Not bad for Dunham either to receive her writing nomination right out of the gate. The ladies face stiff competition in Chris McKenna for Community, Louis C.K. for Louie and Michael Schur for another episode of Parks and Recreation.
Lena Dunham and Louis C.K. also square off in the directing category for Girls and Louie, respectively. Their shows are two of the most talked about, beloved by critics and audiences alike for their freshness and incisive looks at modern life. Veteran director Jake Kasdan received a nomination for the pilot of freshman series New Girl. Jason Winer and Steven Levitan were nominated for two different episodes of Modern Family, and Robert B. Weide rounds out the category for an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Guest stars also get their due on Emmy night. In the Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series, two Saturday Night Live hosts (and former Bridesmaids co-stars) Maya Rudolph and Melissa McCarthy are nominated. McCarthy is also nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, the category she won last year. Movie star Elizabeth Banks and comedian Margaret Cho got nods for their work on 30 Rock while Dot-Marie Jones received love for her turn on Glee. But, my favorite may be Kathy Bates. The veteran actress — also nominated in the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for Harry’s Law — was recognized for playing Charlie Harper, the character embodied by the fired Charlie Sheen, on Two and A Half Men. So meta. So unforgettable.
Five-time Emmy Award winner Michael J. Fox pulled double duty this year, notching nominations in both Guest Lead Actor in a Comedy for Curb Your Enthusiasm and Guest Lead Actor in a Drama for The Good Wife. He will face off against film star Greg Kinnear (Modern Family), Bobby Cannavale (Nurse Jackie), Jimmy Fallon as host of Saturday Night Live, Will Arnett (30 Rock) and Jon Hamm (30 Rock), who is also nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for Mad Men.
These Emmy races are too close to call, mainly because everyone’s work was top notch this past year.

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Emmy Nominations | Checking Out the Comedy Players

Categories: Comedy Shows,Latest News
Posted: July 19, 2012

Emmy Awards
TV is currently enjoying a renaissance of sorts with some of the funniest comedies the boob tube has ever broadcast. Early this morning, the Emmy Award nominations were announced. As a former Emmy-winning comedy writer for the Letterman show, I’ve got a rundown of the comedy categories for series and acting.
This year’s Outstanding Comedy Series category is an interesting mix of veteran shows and two new female-centric HBO comedies. The Big Bang Theory, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Modern Family and 30 Rock have all been to the big dance before. The Big Bang Theory, Modern Family and 30 Rock represent network television — CBS, ABC and NBC, respectively. They are quality-written shows that deliver observational laughs. Curb Your Enthusiasm is all about Larry David and his dyspeptic, yet wry view of the world. The two newbies in this category — Girls and Veep — followed each other on HBO this spring. Girls has gotten the most press — and two other nominations for its creator Lena Dunham for lead actress and director — for its racy, confessional, warts and all approach to 20-something life in New York City. Veep stars the excellent Julia Louis-Dreyfus — also an outstanding lead actress nominee — and though, somewhat uneven as a series, Louis-Dreyfus makes it compelling.
As I mentioned Dunham and Louis-Dreyfus lead the Outstanding Lead Actress category. They are joined by perennial nominees Edie Falco for her bracing turn in Nurse Jackie, Amy Poehler for playing clueless in Parks and Recreation and Recreation and Tina Fey as a producer on 30 Rock. Falco, Poehler and Fey are true veterans of the small screen. Falco is an acting powerhouse also known for her beloved role of the Carmela, Tony Soprano’s long suffering wife, on The Sopranos. Poehler and Fey are former Saturday Night Live castmates, whose spot on impersonations of Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin, respectively, are missed. Rounding out the nominations is Zooey Deschanel for her titular role in the New Girl. Deschanel has a certain insouciant charm you either love or want to crush. This category is the hardest to call, simply because it pits newbies versus a serious slate of former winners.
Something old, something new, something blue is how the saying goes, and the Outstanding Lead Actor category has it all. Jim Parsons of The Big Bang Theory has taken the trophy home the past two years. He’s pitted against wily veterans Larry David (Curb Your Enthusiasm), Alec Baldwin (30 Rock) and Jon Cryer (Two and a Half Men) as well as new to this category, the estimable Don Cheadle for Showtime’s House of Lies. And the final (blue) nomination goes to Louis C.K. for Louie, who has the most heat in this category. The critical praise for his show is off the charts, and the public has embraced it in profound ways. Louie is the only water cooler show of the bunch.
Kristen Wiig lands an Outstanding Supporting Actress nomination for her final season on Saturday Night Live. No surprise here. Kristen has been beloved for many years, and since Bridesmaids, her Q factor is off the charts. The late Kathryn Joosten received a nomination for her work on the final season of Desperate Housewives — the only actor from the show to get any Emmy love. Mayik Bialik has made more noise in the media due to her advocacy of attachment parenting, but it’s great to see the former Blossom star get a nod for her typecast role on The Big Bang Theory. She actually holds a degree in neuroscience. Merritt Weaver, who is fantastic on Nurse Jackie, is also nominated. And, let’s face it, it pays to be an actor on Modern Family. And I don’t just mean in dollars. All six of the leads are nominated in the supporting categories — Sofia Vergara, Julie Bowen, Ed O’Neill, Ty Burrell, Eric Stonestreet and Jesse Tyler Ferguson. The final nominees in the Outstanding Actor category feature one surprise and one expected nominee. Max Greenfield sneaked into this category — somehow, some way. He’s been adorable since Veronica Mars, but I did not see him coming — at least this year — in New Girl. He’s great as a lothario, and I’m pleased his nominated. Just surprised. Bill Hader also gets a nod for his work on Saturday Night Live.
All in all, the Emmy nominations are a mixed bag filled with expected veterans and a few newcomers. I’m most interested to see if Greenfield or Hader can overtake the four men from Modern Family and win the Outstanding Actor Emmy.
On Thursday, I’ll recap the writing and directing comedy nominations.

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Saluting SoHo Playhouse | Great Downtown Theater and Comedy

Categories: Comedy Shows,Off-Broadway Shows
Posted: July 16, 2012

I am proud to perform at the SoHo Playhouse, the historical downtown theater that was once home to the New York political machine and Film Forum, though not at the same time. Located near fun spots — music venue City Winery, dance club SOBS and ping pong maven King Pong — as well as terrific restaurants — Blue Ribbon, Hundred Acres, Mekong Restaurant and David Burke Kitchen — SoHo Playhouse is a charming venue with a full bar – with no drink minimum — located inside the Huron Club where I perform.
My show Ted Greenberg’s The Complete Performer takes the stage every Saturday night at 10:00 pm. And, there are four other terrific shows that delight audiences every week at the SoHo Playhouse.
While I’ve enjoyed a four-year (thus far!) run at the SoHo Playhouse, Simon Lovell’s Strange and Unusual Hobbies has rocked the stage for five years. His show, like mine, is difficult to describe without giving away the spoilers. Let’s just say it’s fun, entertaining and different than anything you will see on a New York stage. The Wall Street Journal calls it a “Dazzling 70 Minute Show!” Simon is known for his sleight-of-hand and for being a consultant about con men for the popular TV show “White Collar.” Simon’s show is live at 6:00 pm on Saturday nights, and it’s not for the kids. Strictly 18+ simply because of the graphic language. Many people have made it a SoHo Playhouse Saturday night — seeing Simon’s show, grabbing dinner nearby and then coming to mine at 10:00 pm.
Simon Lovell
On Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 pm, Telly Savalas returns from the grave in the retro lounge act/comedy Who Loves Ya, Baby? Tom DiMenna stars as the late loveable hunk who returns to earth to teach the youth of today how to be a man and how to treat the ladies. It’s an outrageous and funny show for those who remember Telly in all his glory and those who have never heard of the actor.
Tom DiMenna as Telly Savalas
Upstairs, Triassic Parq, the new musical about dinosaurs told from their viewpoints, has been thrilling audiences and critics alike. David Cote of Time Out New York raved, “A very talented and hardworking cast puts across the goofball material with exemplary zeal and precision.” The show is currently scheduled through August 5th. If you’re in the mood for a musical and a comedy, then the one-two punch of Triassic Parq and Ted Greenberg’s The Complete Performer make great Saturday night partners.
The newest show to grace the stages at the SoHo Playhouse is The Improvised Play. It runs concurrently with my show on Saturday nights at 10:00 pm. Each week a talented group of improv artists take the audience’s suggestions and put on a play in the vein of Tennessee Williams or a Greek tragedy. See my show one week and this one the next!
Don’t forget that Ted Greenberg’s The Complete Performer is the only comedy in town where a group of lucky audience members win a free cab ride home with the performer — me — at the wheel.
Ted Greenberg at cab

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A Taxi Cab Life

Categories: Taxi Cabs
Posted: July 12, 2012

When you think of New York, a few things come to mind — the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Times Square, Broadway, Macy’s and yellow taxi cabs. These are all quintessential Big Apple experiences.
Thus, my Off-Broadway comedy show Ted Greenberg’s The Complete Performer, which has been described as a must see New York show, appropriately ends with a taxi cab ride. A free taxi cab ride with me at the wheel driving one lucky audience group anywhere in the five boroughs. You may watch one of the cab rides home here. I had my hack license two decades ago, and drove occasionally on weekends. I applied again for it once I started performing my comedy show Saturday nights at SoHo Playhouse.
Since I drive every Saturday night, I was intriqued by New York Magazine’s recent profile on cab driver Lucky Abeysekara in an article called Taxinomics. The story follows Lucky through one night behind the wheel. Check it out to get a sense of what life is like for a cabbie.
And for random taxi cab trivia, it seems I’m not the only creative type to hold a hack license at some point. A friend just posted a photo of the license Robert De Niro held while driving in one of my favorite New York movies, Taxi Driver. As I previously mentioned, that film inspired me to get behind the wheel of the cab.

And this Mental Floss article points out that at least six other famous people — actors, comedians, and musicians — were once cabbies. I think number 6 Philip Glass is my favorite because it’s so unexpected. I’m trying to imagine him navigating the streets of New York City while listening to his on music.


Mascot Greenberg Ranks The Worst Major League Baseball Mascots

Categories: Latest News
Posted: July 9, 2012

For those who have followed my show Ted Greenberg’s The Complete Performer recently, you will have notice that my trusty sidekick, Mascot Greenberg, has morphed from a one-emotion, happy go lucky guy to a more nuanced cohort — displaying up to three emotions in one night. Now, that he’s broken out of simply cheering for everyone and everything and in honor of the upcoming Major League Baseball All Star Game, Mascot asked if he could take over the blog for one day.
And he asked for a good reason. To rank the worst mascots in the majors. Those who go down without swinging. You see, Mascot is proud of his job, and takes to heart his job. He knows a team (or performer) needs a great mascot — one with mad dance or athletic skills and the ability to improv on the fly. Without further adieu, I hand Mascot Greenberg the floor.
5) Mettle the Mule (New York Mets). The 1970s inspired some of the dumbest decisions of humankind (polyester, disco,), but who can forget the lame attempt by the Amazins to sell the greatest city on earth on a mule? A MULE? A real mule named Mettle. Mr. Met is bad enough — innocuous, silly, but at least he’s not a mule.
mettle the mule
4) Billy The Marlin (Miami) — A fish with arms. Are you kidding me? Is there too much mercury in the water surrounding Miami? This mascot is just not a pretty sight. If I saw him in person, I would run in the opposite direction. And fast.
Billy the Marlin
3) Captain (Texas Rangers). This horse is the worst word you can call a mascot: boring. The costume isn’t innovative, lacking panache. It’s not weird like Cincinnati’s Gapper — whatever it is. But, at least when you leave Great American Ball Park, you cannot stop wondering about Gapper. The same cannot be said about the bland horse.
Texas Rangers Mascot
2) The Pierogis (Pittsburgh) — It’s been said that imitation is the best form of flattery. Not in this case. These male and female pierogis are a blatant ripoff of the much superior Milwaukee Sausages. Oh, Pittsburgh, it’s not a good idea to be outmatched, outclassed and preceded by Milwaukee. But, you did it with this lame idea. Pierogis? Who wants to see the doughy creatures make it around the bases?
1) Lefty and Righty (Boston) — Isn’t Wally bad enough? These two red socks — again with arms — leave a lot to be desired. Nobody wants to cheer on a sock. We like animals, people, heck, even vegetables. But, socks? No thank you. Now, I am a tried and true New Yorker and fan of the Yankees, but still there’s no excuse. Just another reason to hate the Red Sox.
lefty and right

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Comedy Show Staffers Recommend What to Do in NYC

Categories: Latest News
Posted: July 5, 2012

When you walk into a book store (or when you ventured into video and record stores — RIP), one of the first things you see is a wall of staff picks, recommendations by people who love books, movies, and music. I’m front and center every week at my Off Broadway comedy show Ted Greenberg’s The Complete Performer; you don’t see the amazing people who help make the show run smoothly each week. Until now. Sort of.
I asked my trusty staff members to recommend the best things to do in New York City during the summer. I’ll poll them a few times during the year for other suggestions. For now, find out how to beat the heat in the Big Apple.
Barbara Perez(Marketing)
I like catching the free concerts in Central Park (SummerStage) and the “Movies on the Rooftop” that are offered around town. Also, being a water baby, I try and get out to the beach at Riis Park as often as possible.
Jacob Riis Beach
Mike Motz (Mascot Trainer)
Performing stand up as much as possible and getting blitzed on Bath Salts. Corn Starch on show days.
Bestar Mujaj (Technical Director)
Running through different parks and street routes. I’m running the George Washington Bridge tomorrow, simple, but fun. I did Prospect Park on Monday and Isham Park in Inwood on Wednesday.
George Washington Bridge
Lanie Zipoy (Publicist)
For years there have been summer tentpole movies for men; this year, there’s one for the ladies. Looking forward to MAGIC MIKE. Saw it with 20 girlfriends on opening night. And, there’s nothing like the 79th Boat Basin for drinks on a summer nights. Nice breeze, gorgeous views.
Boat Basin in NYC
Michael McQuary (Assistant Mascot Trainer)
Working on projects and working to do the projects – and finding the joys in the surprises !!
Matt Wayne (Producer)
Enjoying long walks on Westhampton beach, catching the waves all day- followed by dinner at Tully’s Lobster Co. in Hampton Bays, NY. Best steamers in the Hamptons! Repeat somewhat daily, throwing in a nice party on occasion & it equals the perfect NYC getaway!
There you go — a few suggestions to make your New York summer hotter than ever.

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Happy Birthday U.S.A.!

Categories: Latest News
Posted: July 2, 2012

We love celebrating birthdays at Ted Greenberg’s The Complete Performer. In fact, more than 70 people have spent their birthday with the show. This week, one of the biggest birthdays — the birth of our nation — takes place on Wednesday, July 4th.
New York is one of the best places to be on this great national holiday. Especially if you like fireworks. Hundreds of thousands of people will line the Hudson River — in both New York and New Jersey — to watch the Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks. For over 30 minutes, spectators are treated to a stunning visual mirage of red, white and blue. Now, as someone who on occasions drives a cab, I must warn you: walk to the fireworks. Avoid taking your car or driving on the west side of Manhattan. You can thank me later.
Macys fireworks
There are other fireworks after the Brooklyn Cyclones — New York Mets farm team — and the Staten Island Yankees’ — New York Yankees farm team — games on July 4th. And, after the Mets game on July 3rd, stick around to see fireworks overhead. What is more American than baseball and fireworks?
During the day there are plenty of things to do. Go to Central Park for a picnic, visit a friend’s apartment for an indoor feast or you can catch a subway train to Coney Island to watch Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. While it will be televised on ESPN at 3pm, there is nothing like catching it live. The women go for the gastro gold at 11:30 am, and the men kick off at 12:00 pm. Will I see you cheering on the winners?
Whatever you do, have a great Fourth of July! Happy Birthday U.S.A.

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