Ted Greenberg's The Complete Performer

Starring Emmy Award winning Letterman writer, Ted Greenberg!

     
Brown Bagging It In Style

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Posted: August 30, 2012
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Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week opens next week in New York, running September 6 through 13. Mascot Greenberg and I will have some fashion tips that you won’t want to miss during Fashion Week. We, though, were intrigued by this article in the New York Daily News. It seems design house Jil Sander is now selling a brown bag clutch for $290. The price certainly gave us sticker shock, but the Mascot and I were more flummoxed at the idea that the bag is selling out! That’s right, Jil Sander cannot keep it on the shelves.
 
The first thing I thought was that I should charge more for the Ted Greenberg’s The Complete Performer thong (pictured below). Way more. Perhaps then every one would want one! So a word to the wise, get the thongs now while they are only $15. Next week, they may be $105.
 
Ted Greenberg's The Complete Performer thong
 
Then, I wondered, what would a $290 brown paper bag-inspired clutch be used for? Given this version is a little more upscale (not just in price) than the kind you buy at Gristedes. It has some stitching on the seams and metal vents. And, there is a black leather version that retails for $630. So what can a precious bag like this carry?
 
#5 Lunch – Bring your sandwich and chips or soup to the office in style. The only drawback is that the bag screams “I do not need a raise.” That’s right your boss and co-workers will think you have too much cash on hand if you spend nearly three Benjamins on a designer brown paper bag.
 
#4 Doggy Bag — Take this bag with you to a Michelin-starred restaurant, and when you cannot finish your meal, you have the perfect doggy bag. Daniel Boulud’s food deserves such a spendy vessel, right?
 
#3 Ripen fruit – It’s a long held fact that if you throw fruit in a brown paper bag, the fruit will ripen quicker. Pull out those mangoes, and in a day or two they will be ready to eat. And, bonus, your bag will have the lovely mango aroma.
 
#2 Sneak popcorn into the movie theater – Ushers will easily be fooled by your glamorous bag. There’s no way they will suspect that someone who can afford a $290 brown paper bag will sneak popcorn or other goodies into the theater to see the latest blockbuster. Pop the popcorn yourself or buy some of the delicious brands now on offer at your local supermarket. BOOMCHICKAPOP is one of my favorites.
 
#1 Wrapping Paper — Sure, you could buy that nice stuff with paisley or other cute designs at Papyrus or Paper Accessory (one of my favorite downtown stores), but using a $290 bag (or heck upgrade to the black leather one) will really show you care. Put that $50 gift you got your friend or girlfriend or sister in this bag, and you will be a hit at her party.
 
Don’t forget to check back with us next week as The Mascot and I will unveil the fashion tips that have kept us looking dapper for years. And, let us know what you plan to do with your Jil Sander bag.



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Celebrating Fringe Encores | A Second Life for Great Shows

Categories: Latest News,Off-Broadway Shows
Posted: August 28, 2012
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Fringe Encores opens next week at SoHo Playhouse. It’s a second chance to see over a dozen of the hottest, most original and moving shows that were part of the 187 productions at the 2012 New York International Fringe Festival. Fringe Encores is thrilling for performers and audiences (especially after missing out on these fabulous shows the first time around). And, I know first hand what a blast Fringe Encores can be. Four years ago, my mostly one-man comedy show, Ted Greenberg’s The Complete Performer, was selected to participate in Fringe Encores, and I’ve been lucky enough to be at the SoHo Playhouse pretty much ever since.
 
Many of the shows selected for this year’s series were feted during the festival, winning awards. 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche and Independents both took home Overall Production Awards. Salamander Starts Over and The Zebra Shirt of Lonely Children were recognized as Outstanding Solo Performances. Chris Phillips won a Playwriting Award for Pieces, and Kelly Bailey was given an Outstanding Design award for Pulp Shakespeare‘s costumes.
 
The Zebra Shirt of Lonely Children
Matthew Trumbull in The Zebra Shirt of Lonely Children
 
Kudos to every show that was selected. I am particularly thrilled that The Zebra Shirt of Lonely Children, Matthew Trumbull’s exquisite one-man show, will have another life and even happier that it will play before my show two Saturdays, September 8 and 29 at 8:00 pm.
 
Don’t just take my word that this show is brilliant. Time Out New York gave the show four stars and said the show “achieves a masterful balance between the tragedy of loss and the touching moments of humor it can create.” TheaterMania.com called it “beautifully written.” Theater Is Easy raved about the show, “A devastating and funny personal monologue about losing a parent performed by a master storyteller — a true gift from Matthew Trumbull to his audiences.” I could keep piling on the terrific reviews.
 
See this show. Be moved, and then come to mine on September 8th or 29th at 10:00 pm to lighten up.



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Turning a One-Person Show Into a Film

Categories: Latest News
Posted: August 23, 2012
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As a writer and star of a mostly one-person comedy show Ted Greenberg’s The Complete Performer, I’m always intrigued how solo shows are turned into films. One of the greatest examples of the one person film genre is Jonathan Demme’s concert film Swimming to Cambodia from the late writer/performer Spalding Gray. With his frantic, crescendoing delivery and compelling way with words, there is no way to avert your eyes from Gray throughout the film. He starts by entering the Performance Garage, where he had worked with the Wooster Group for many years, and a seated audience. Then, he unleashes a classic monologue. A monologue that is so piercing, penetrating in its depth that it leaves the viewer breathless.
 
Spike Lee filmed John Leguizamo’s Drama Desk Award-winning solo show Freak for HBO in 2000. In Freak, Leguizamo plays numerous family members as he tells of the trials and tribulations of his childhood. Hilarious, raunchy and raw, Freak showcased Leguizamo’s range and willingness to go for broke as a storyteller.
 
Sleepwalk with me
 
This week, Sleepwalk with Me opens in movie theaters. It’s getting great reviews in Time Out New York and others. The movie stars writer/director Mike Birbiglia and at least a dozen other actors. With that kind of cast, you wouldn’t necessary know that this movie was originally a very successful Off-Broadway one-person show, starring Birbiglia. But it was. Just a couple years ago, you could not get enter a subway station without seeing a poster for the Off-Broadway play. Now, he’s adapted what was essentially a long monologue into a film with numerous actors. I cannot wait to see it. For inspiration. For insight. And, to enjoy Birbiglia’s performance all over again. (And, a side note, if you haven’t seen his brief bit in Your Sister’s Sister, check it out).



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Some of the Best Things in Life Are Free | US Open Tennis

Categories: Latest News
Posted: August 21, 2012
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I like to think of my show, Ted Greenberg’s The Complete Performer, as the quintessential New York show. There are many things I relish about The Big Apple, particularly that it is a city of extremes. You can chow down on a $295 burger at Serendipity 3 or enjoy the best falafel sandwich in the world for $2.50. At Mamoun’s naturally. Next week, the United States Open, the final Grand Slam tournament of the 2012 season, kicks off in Flushing, Queens. Tickets go for $50 to thousands of dollars per session, depending on what day you go and where you’re seated. But, like I said, New York can crush your wallet or sometimes it can be very kind. That’s why this week is my favorite part of the US Open.
 
You can head out to the USTA Billie Jean King National Center — take the 7 train for just the cost of a subway ride — over the next few days, and you can watch many of the players who will be in the tournament next week play in the qualifying rounds. For FREE. And, you can sit thisclose to many of the courts and enjoy high quality tennis without setting you back any dough. The players in the qualifying draw just missed the ranking cutoff for the main draw. Now, they battle it out for three rounds for the chance to make at least $23,000 (first round prize money).
 
Aravane Rezai, tennis player
Aravane Rezai
 
And, to help you out further, here are a couple of matches and players you should check out if you go out there today. Former world #1 Rafael Nadal hasn’t played tennis since his surprise second round loss at Wimbledon. You can see Lukas Rosol, the man that sent him packing, as he takes on Kamil Capkovic today. Magdalena Rybarikova, who is seeded no. 1 in the women’s qualifying draw (essentially she was the highest ranked player not to make the main draw), takes on French veteran Julie Coin, who isn’t afraid to come into the net. I expect Alex Kuznetsov-Karol Beck match to be a barn burner. Check out Aravane Rezai, who was ranked as high as No. 15 in the world, take on China’s Saisai Zheng.
 
And if you cannot, make it today, go tomorrow. It surely is one of the best values in New York. In all of tennis actually. Have fun!



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Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Ted Greenberg’s The Complete Performer

Categories: Latest News
Posted: August 16, 2012
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Comedian Ted Greenberg
 
As my show, Ted Greenberg’s The Complete Performer, heads into its fifth season Off-Broadway next month, I thought it was about time I put together a Frequently Asked Questions section — FAQ. This is for everyone who has never attended my show (you have no reason not to now!) and for those who haven’t been back to see it in a couple of years. I hope I’ve answered all of your questions. If not, drop me a line in the comments box below.
 
IS THERE A DRINK MINIMUM?
Not a chance. Drink minimums represent everything I despise: bloat, opportunism, corporate greed, gangland strong-arming, environmental predation. Don’t get me started!
 
There is a bar if you want a drink.
 
Whether you drink or not, you will leave my show intoxicated with joy and fellow feeling for humanity.
 
WHAT’S THE SHOW ABOUT?
To quote one reviewer “It’s about one comedic surprise after another that I will not spoil here.” I can say this: you will walk out having seen the ultimate New York City comedy experience. No drink minimum.
 
IS THERE AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION?
Only for those who want to participate (read: scene-stealing-attention-mongering-closet divas). Audience participation is entirely voluntary. From start to finish everyone, participants and nonparticipants alike, feel honored, valued and not subjected to a drink minimum.                
 

I think of my audience as friends who join me for a great Saturday night party and then leave without rummaging through my medicine cabinet or vomiting on my couch.

 

WHAT’S THE LARGEST SIZE GROUP OF FRIENDS I CAN BRING?

Up to 50 and no drink minimum! Contact the show’s producer Matt Wayne at producer@thecompleteperformer.com to celebrate an event – bachelorette party, birthday or girls night out.

 

IS THERE NUDITY?

No. The entire cast, crew and maintenance staff observe a strict no-nudity code. Was there an episode years back? Maybe. But the show is PG-13 and that’s the way we like it.

 

IS THERE REALLY A CAB RIDE HOME?

Yes. And you may win it!

 

AM I A CAB DRIVER?

Only immediately following my show and to drive the show’s lucky winners. I am a comedian who has appeared regularly at New York City comedy clubs (even though they may have drink minimums) and an Emmy award comedy writer formerly with the David Letterman show. My hack license is for the purpose of this show alone!

 

CAN YOU BRING YOUR KIDS?

If they are 16 or older, bring them. Doing so will abate their adolescent rebellion. Oh sure they’ll still ignore you and mimic you behind your back but the random episodes of car jacking and identity theft will immediately decline.

 

WOULD MY 65-YEAR OLD MOTHER LIKE MY SHOW?

Woman of all ages love my show. And I love women of all ages. And there’s no drink minimum.

 

ARE YOU CLOSE TO ANY RESTAURANTS?

Some of Manhattan’s best! See the venue page.



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Proud of My Dad

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Posted: August 13, 2012
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Often, parents pull out pictures on their iPhones or back in the analog days tattered ones from their wallets to show other people their pride and joy, their children. Today, I get to turn the tables. I get to show my dad off. For Father’s Day, I wrote about the unusual present I gave him. Now, I get to point out that I’m not the only comedian in the family. Yep, my dad (pictured below) is giving me a run for the money, so to speak.
 
Alan Greenberg
 
An interview my dad, Alan C. Greenberg aka Ace, did on Bloomberg Television made the rounds and even the headlines of the New York Times. When asked about former Citigroup chairman Sanford I. Weill’s about-face on banking regulations, my dad compared Mr. Weill to Sacha Baron Cohen, known for his outrageous characters Borat, Bruno and Da Ali G. Read all about it at the New York Times web site and watch the accompanying clip.
 
They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. And that’s truer in the Big Apple than anywhere else. So, thanks dad. I must have gotten my sense of humor and love of comedy from somewhere.



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It’s FringeNYC time in the Big Apple | 16th Annual Festival Takes Over Downtown

Categories: Latest News
Posted: August 9, 2012
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Four years ago, my long running Off Broadway comedy show, Ted Greenberg’s The Complete Performer, got its start as part of the New York International Fringe Festival, the largest multi-arts festival in North America. I am proud that my show began at the festival. At that time, the show was only 30 minutes (now it’s an hour long), and I got to develop my material with loyal Fringe audiences. I am ever grateful for the opportunity.
 
New York International Fringe Festival
 
It’s August in New York which means it’s the FringeNYC time of year. Nineteen venues in downtown New York will host over 200 shows from around the world. And, as luck would have it, the SoHo Playhouse, where I perform every Saturday night at 10:00 pm, is one of those venues. I will once again be surrounded by the excitement and raw energy that the Fringe brings to New York.
 
Here’s the down low on the FringeNYC shows that will perform at the Huron Club at SoHo Playhouse.
 
#1 Danny Visconti is HILL-BENT: My Night with Hillary Clinton
– A musical journey about one man’s obsession with our Secretary of State and the wild shenanigans meeting Mrs. Clinton inspires.
 
#2 Honest — Billed as a black comedy for the 99%, Honest is direct to us from Tel Aviv. The show follows one man’s night as he shares the brutal truth with everyone he meets.
 
#3 Immaculate Degeneration – This is an inspired by a true story show. Pamela battles an unseen disability; she is neither sighted, nor blind. Immaculate Degeneration calls itself a “one-woman rock and roll cabaret.”
 
#4 The Mike Hadge Trio’s 7th Reunion Concert — Clearly a comedy about a former band reuniting. Is 7 their lucky number?
 
#5 This Too Shall Suck — A hodgepodge of life’s mysteries, Matt Graham’s “one-man traumedy” follows his transition from “drunken bum into reclusive cat lady/professional gambler.”
 
Happy Fringe-ing.



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Nothing Awkward. Here | MTV Show Brings the Laughs

Categories: Comedy Shows,Latest News
Posted: August 6, 2012
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There is nothing awkward about Awkward., the self assured comedy series created by Lauren Iungerich. There show is part of the female comedy revolution on TV. I recently blogged about the Emmy nominations, highlighting those for writing secured by Lena Dunham (Girls) and Amy Poehler. Dunham,Poehler and Iungerich aren’t the only ones dominating the channels. We’ve got Tina Fey at least for a few more episodes on 30 Rock, Melissa McCarthy on Mike and Molly, Zooey Deschanel on New Girl. Ever since Marlo Thomas sashayed into our hearts with That Girl, there have been female heroines front and center in comedies. Mary Tyler Moore, Valerie Harper, Roseanne Barr, The Golden Girls, Sex and the City, Candice Bergen and Carol Burnett to name a few.
 
Awkward. Ashley Rickards, Beau Mirchoff & Brett Davern
 
Awkward. follows California teenager Jenna’s harrowing journey through the maze of high school and young love. It delivers heartbreaking, bittersweet laughs week in and week out. Let’s be clear. Jenna and her friends would make anyone grateful that they don’t have any children. While their trials and tribulations are funny, who wants to deal with the mood swings, the ever evolving social system and the inherent narcissism of being a teenager.
 
As Jenna struggles to overcome the harrowing things a 15-year-old deals with, she puts on a brave face and struggles to fit in. Ashley Rickards in the title role gives such a spot on performance that you cannot imagine anyone else doing the role. She’s a little bit Claire Danes in My So-Called Life with a dash of Ellen Page from Juno and some rocking Molly Ringwald thrown in. Her facial expressions and quizzical delivery will at once break your heart and have you on the floor laughing. And thankful that this is not your life. Her BFFs are played to perfection by Jillian Rose Reed (the blabber mouth, high strung Tamara) and Jessica Lu (the slightly rebellious and sardonic Ming). All three of the girls hate the mean girl Sadie, played by Molly Tarlov, who is like a more modern brunette Busy Philipps.
 
Ashley Rickards
Ashley Rickards in Awkward.
 
Awkward. is now in its second season. The first dealt with Jenna’s accident that was perceived as a suicide attempt by everyone in her life (parents, friends, fellow students) and her secret relationship with hunk Matty McKibbin (the excellent Beau Mirchoff). Matty had trouble committing to Jenna, and his best friend Jake, who is oblivious to their relationship, swooped in and stole Jenna’s heart. Season 2 has played with the romantic triangle in surprising and hilarious ways as Matty tries to prove to Jenna that he does care. It’s a huge credit to show creator Iungerich that the show has been able to (1) mine this triangle in such a funny and entertaining ways for nearly two seasons and (2) that Jenna choosing the good guy had so much drama. Normally, shows only find it in having the characters do the wrong thing. In this case, Jenna makes the right choice, but it still feels so wrong.
 
Awkward. hasn’t received the love and adoration (or Emmy nominations) that Girls has received. But, this show is another fine example of women creating rocking and funny television.



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The Funny Faces of the Olympics

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Posted: August 2, 2012
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The Olympics have the world’s attention. All eyes have been on London since the Opening Ceremony last Friday. While the athletes, TV commentators and coaches have their hopes set on the medals — gold, silver and bronze — I could care less about that. My attention is on the funny faces the athletes make while competing. That’s right. These athletes train for four years, perfecting their bodies and techniques, and still I — and some other blog sites — focus on the minutiae of how they look while performing.
 
Google “Olympics Funny Faces” and you will see dozens of entries. Divers are particularly susceptible to making funny faces. Not only do they deal with perfecting their form — contorting their bodies like a pretzel — but they confront gravity as well. It’s a force that renders even the most reasonable form funny. In its ‘hands’, divers’ faces are as pliable as a piece of silly putty. Check out Germany’s Patrick Hausding (below) or any of the other divers in this gallery by CBS news to see what I mean.
 

 
Divers aren’t the only ones whose funny faces have made headlines. Swimmers too are at the forefront of this — whether on the starting blocks or in the water. Their level of concentration often twists their faces into pouty, contorted puffballs. But, no one takes the cake like gold medalist Ryan Lochte, who wears grillz (blinged out bridge) over his teeth on the medal stand. Even Ryan Seacrest posted about it on his website. You can see the picture below.
 
Ryan Lochte
 
My favorite funny face of the Olympics is nowhere near the water. Jake Kaminski, part of the silver medal-winning United States men’s archery team, takes that prize. Partly because I was so impressed by the archery teams success, beating formidable South Korea and losing to Italy by only one point. Also, it’s hard to believe the amount of concentration required for the sport, particularly when you are holding a 50-pound bow. Jake, though, has a very distinctive style. As he prepares to shoot, he holds the bow in such a way that he splits his lip in two. See the photo. Most archers have this same technique, but there’s something about the way it looks on Jake. It creates a sort of Mona Lisa affect — something between a smile and a frown. Absolutely compelling and clearly successful in helping him compete well.
 

 
Enjoy the rest of the Olympics and let me know who you’re favorite funny faces are.



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