Ted Greenberg's The Complete Performer

Starring Emmy Award winning Letterman writer, Ted Greenberg!

     
Top Five Christmas Movies That Make Me Laugh

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Posted: November 29, 2012
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Holiday movies — no matter the holiday — are a staple of American cinema. Once December rolls around we are inundated with It’s A Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street and other holiday favorites. Sure these well-meaning films are good, but I need them to tickle my funny bone to encourage repeat viewings. Here are the five holiday films I put on repeat every holiday season.
 
5.Trading Places — Dan Ayckroyd and Eddie Murphy. In the 1980s. This classic film about nature vs. nurture and the 1%’s desire to rule the world for only a dollar is at its heart a biting comedy about race and class. Watching it 30 years later, sure it’s a bit dated, but much of it holds up.
 
Trading Places
 
4. Scrooged — This 1988 Richard Donner film updates the classic Scrooge story about a miser getting his comeuppance. In this instance it’s an incorrigible TV exec played by Bill Murray with his overstated aplomb. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as watching Murray put through the paces toward redemption. Hilarious.
 
Scrooged
 
3. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang — Technically this film written and directed by Lethal Weapon scribe Shane Black isn’t a comedy, but I dare you to watch it without laughing (or noticing how irresistible Michelle Monaghan is!). Val Kilmer is sublime as a gay detective investigating a murder around Christmas in Los Angeles, and Robert Downey Jr is his perfect, manic foil. This underappreciated gem is well worth the look.
 
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
 
2. A Christmas Story — Who hasn’t lusted after something with all his heart? Dreamed of it. Envisioned it. Desired it. This charming story told about a young boy and his wish for a bb gun has charmed viewers for generations. Rightly so. I’ve never wanted a bb gun, but I get that longing. And laugh about it.
 
A Christmas Story
 
1. Bad Santa — If you watch this dark, dark comedy (and aren’t offended by the racy language), you will laugh almost every other frame. Billy Bob Thornton was born to play the role of a down-on-his-luck, hard-living Santa Claus who seizes every opportunity he can to steal his way through life. He’s not without his ever-so-slight charms as his reserve is melted by an overweight, awkward young boy and the affections of Lauren Graham. Definitely makes it worth being naughty and not nice.
 
Bad Santa
Happy Holidays!



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A Birthday Gift from My Show to Your Favorite Charity

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Posted: November 26, 2012
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It’s hard to attend birthday parties these days. What do you get a New Yorker that won’t overcrowd his or her apartment, or be a duplicate of another gift? Or be something he actually wants?
 
On December 8th, I will celebrate my birthday at my weekly mostly one-man comedy show, Ted Greenberg’s The Complete Performer. Not only will I entertain you and drive one lucky audience group home in a yellow taxi cab at the end of the night, I will make a donation on behalf of one lucky audience member to his or her charity of choice. You could say I’m a year older, a year wiser, a year funnier. Also a year more grateful for my audience members.
 
Happy Birthday Ted
 
If you’ve seen the show, you know that the audience plays a big part in it, and I’m so thankful for the terrific audience members who have attended my show over the past five seasons. As a measure of gratitude and in keeping with the New York spirit, the show will donate at least $100 in honor of one lucky audience member to his or her favorite non-profit charity. If you are on my mailing list, you received an E-mail on how to enter the charity give-away. Just follow those simple directions in the E-mail.
 
For those in attendance at the December 8th show — both Ted Greenberg’s The Complete Performer veterans and newbies — you may enter the contest too. And, there’s a bonus. If you’re in the audience when your charity is chosen, the show will donate $500. That’s right. Five Benjamins.
 
Happy Birthday to me and happy holidays to your favorite charity. Hope to see you at the SoHo Playhouse on Saturday, December 8th at 10 pm. Get your tickets now.

 



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Interview: David Yazbek

Categories: Comedians,Latest News
Posted: November 23, 2012
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I continue my interviews with one of my dearest friends, David Yazbek. As I mentioned, he’s starting a monthly residency at the 92YTribeca. Hurricane Sandy pushed back his inaugural show to December 3rd. Here, I ask him questions about poker and his dad’s favorite song of his.
 
David Yazbek
 
TED GREENBERG: What are your five favorite poker scenes in film or TV?
 
DAVID YAZBEK:
1. John Hamburg’s bromance I Love You, Man has a poker scene where Paul Rudd breaks all the rules of rational poker-play and annoys everyone by winning and then projectile-vomits into Jon Favreau’s face.
 
2. The British film Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels has a great poker scene near the beginning of the film. It takes place in a boxing ring and ends with our protagonist losing maybe 200k that he doesn’t have. The moment he loses something like 4 of a kind to a straight flush (the other guy cheats) is exquisitely nauseating.
 
3. Rounders final poker scene. Even with its stupid Oreo-cookie-tell conceit, it’s fun and plausible to see [John] Malkovich’s character admit defeat to better play. I also like when Matt Damon correctly reads everyone’s hand at the law professor’s poker game.
 
4. Cincinnati Kid final poker scene. Pretty stupid but Steve McQueen’s face is priceless throughout.
 
5. California Split is an obscure film about two gamblers played by Elliot Gould and George Segal. For years you couldn’t get it and now you can. There’s great, sad stuff in it.
 
TED GREENBERG: Of all your songs, what’s your dad’s favorite?

 
DAVID YAZBEK:
My Dad recently told me The Full Monty is his favorite musical but I think his favorite song of mine is “See How the Moon Behaves” which is what he consistently incorrectly calls “Nothing Is Too Wonderful to be True” from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.
 
And, don’t forget to check out David Yazbek & His Warmest Regards at 92YTribeca (200 Hudson Street, NYC) on Monday, December 3rd. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. For advance tickets, visit the 92YTribeca web site.



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Happy Thanksgiving | Things to Be Thankful For

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Posted: November 19, 2012
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In just a few short days, families around the United States will celebrate Thanksgiving by overeating, watching football games and annoying the hell out of one another. In New York, where some residents are just getting their power back, this Thanksgiving will be very different than the previous ones, pre-Superstorm Sandy.
 
I am grateful for many things, particularly these five things, this November.
 
5) Power and hot water. Spend a week or so without these trappings of modern life, and you will be very grateful for them. Particularly hot water. New Yorkers should never be without it as we’re constantly in contact with people we don’t know. And, goodness, you hope they’ve had a shower. Power is certainly helpful to run our myriad of devices and my show — Ted Greenberg’s The Complete Performer — relies on it week in and week out at the SoHo Playhouse.
 
Hot Water
 
4)The Human spirit. Nothing has personified it more than all of the New York who have donated money, time, food and clothing to those in need post-Superstorm Sandy. I always knew I lived in the greatest city on the earth, and the past few weeks have proven it more so. Thank you New York.
 
3) The New York Knicks. I never thought I’d say this again, but Madison Square Garden is alive again. My fave basketball team ran up seven straight wins to start the 2012-2013 season. I cannot believe it. Keep it going Knickerbockers. We, New Yorkers, need something to cheer about. See number 5.
 
Carmelo Anthony
 
2) Gas. I never thought I’d say that. But, it’s true. As someone who drives a cab post-show, access to gas is very important. The rationing — alternating days in which people can get gas — will continue through the Thanksgiving holiday, but I’m thrilled that it’s easier to get than in the first week post-Superstorm Sandy.
 
1) My Show. I’m very, very grateful I get to entertain you once a week — Saturday nights at 10:00 pm at the SoHo Playhouse. It’s a dream to take the stage in downtown Manhattan, and to be able to do this every week for four, going on five, years. I truly feel like the luckiest guy on earth. Hope to see you soon so you can see exactly why.
 
A very big happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. Don’t eat too much of that jello mold.



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Comedy Is One of the Ways New York Will Recover

Categories: Comedians,Comedy Shows
Posted: November 15, 2012
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There is nothing like being a comedian — a stand up comic, an improviser or someone like me, who performs a weekly comedy show. Stand on stage and bank in the laughter (and sometimes the jeers or dead silence). Like I said there is nothing like it, particularly figuring out how to recover from spectacularly falling on your face (metaphorically speaking) or how to top your previous set.
 
bigjayoakerson
 
Everything seems blunted given Hurricane Sandy’s devastating swath through New York City and the surrounding areas. We’ve been hit hard, and are barely able to recover. Who would know this better than comic Big Jay Oakerson? The New York Post reports that not only did he lose his Long Island home to the hurricane, but also his car. Yet, some how he made it to The Stand in Manhattan to perform a free set illuminated by only candlelight and the glow of a miner’s helmut. Imagine that: losing your worldly possessions, but thinking about others and what they are going through. What a guy. What dedication.
 
Here’s hoping that Big Jay Oakerson’s fortunes turn around soon, and that the comedy clubs and shows around the city offer a little bit of hope, happiness and laugh out loud funny jokes to pick us all up and remind us that we are New Yorkers — the most resilient and funniest people in the world. We will laugh again.



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Comedy Movies This Holiday Season

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We’re currently in prestige movie season, that time of year when every film seems like Oscar bait. Not necessarily in a bad way, especially if you like long-winded dramas, period pieces or adaptations of musicals. Every year, though, a few comedies sneak into the mix and offer us a chance to laugh, something we definitely need with the stressful holiday season upon us. Here are few on my radar in 2012.
 
Filmmaker David O. Russell has given us the edgy comedies Spanking the Monkey and Flirting with Disaster (the quail laced with LSD scene is a classic) as well as the existential comedy I Heart Huckabees. His latest film Silver Linings Playbook he seems to love films with three words in the title – has strong buzz before its opening November 21st. Last year’s Sexiest Man Alive Bradley Cooper and Oscar nominee Jennifer Lawrence star as people battling mental illness while making a surprising connection. Oh, and there’s ballroom dancing and Robert De Niro. SLP looks to walk that fine line of comedy-drama that Russell is famous for. I know I will line up to see the film over Thanksgiving weekend. See why below.
 

 
This Is 40 is a kinda follow up to Knocked Up. Paul Rudd, who starred in the great bromance comedy I Love You Man, and Leslie Mann reprise their roles as a married couple in this film that delves into the humor of approaching midlife. Written and directed by Mann’s real life husband Judd Apatow, the trailer is filled with humor and heart. And what looks like great chemistry between Rudd and Mann.
 

 

The Guilt Trip
pairs Seth Rogen, who just a couple of years ago was one of the hottest actors in Hollywood, with the legendary Barbra Streisand, who is in her first starring role in 16 years. Rogen has wowed audiences with his dry sense of humor since he came on the scene in the little seen, but much beloved TV series Freaks and Geeks. He’s starred in Knocked Up, Pineapple Express and The 40 Year Old Virgin. Streisand began on Broadway and soon was making landmark 70s comedies like What’s Up Doc? In The Guilt Trip, Streisand and Rogen, who play mother and son, set out on a journey across the United States to sell his latest invention and help each other find love. Directed by Anne Fletcher, whose Sandra Bullock-Ryan Reynolds starrer The Proposal was a surprise hit, The Guild Trip is written by Dan Fogelman, whose Crazy Stupid Love charmed last season. The film opens on Christmas Day. You can catch a sneak peek at The Guilt Trip below.
 

 
Happy Movie Going!



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Top Five Comic Actors Who Are Also Veterans

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Posted: November 12, 2012
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Yesterday was the official Veterans Day, but most people celebrate it today, November 12th. Post offices, banks, government offices and many others are given the day off to honor the men and women who have served in the armed forces of the United States of America. As our great nation celebrates this important holiday less than a week after our national elections, I take a look at some of the great comic actors who are also veterans.
 
Before these men were regulars on the boob tube or the big screen, they spent time defending the United States, many of them fighting in some of the biggest wars of the 20th century. A tip of the hat to:
 
Charles Durning
 
#5 Charles Durning may have one of the most diverse careers in TV and film. It’s remarkable particularly because he didn’t get his start until he was nearing 40. Since then, he’s been seen in The Sting, a vocal regular on Family Guy, and Evening Shade, the early 90s comedy starring Burt Reynolds. With his booming, yet whiny voice, Durning possesses authority and self deprecation. And, he can make me laugh with his sly, askance looks. His performances in The Muppet Movie and North Dallas Forty are worth a second look. And his versatility makes him equally adept at drama. Add that he was wounded during World War II, and you’ve got one very talented and resilient veteran.
 
Jamie Farr
 
#4 Jamie Farr served in the Korean War and is most famous for playing a character serving as a medic in the Korean War. Corporal Maxwell Klinger challenged the US Forces in MASH as a cross-dresser in the hopes of being discharged. His Catch-22 character was a hit with the fans, and after a short stint during the series’ second season, he became a regular in the third season.
 
Gene Wilder
 
#3 Gene Wilder, as I’ve written before, enjoyed some seismic comedic teamwork with Richard Pryor. The man born as Jerome Silberman also was interestingly hilarious in Willy Wonka and rapturously smitten in The Woman in Red. His comedy Hall of Fame moment is Young Frankenstein, the film he co-wrote with our number 2 below and starred in. You can watch this film 100 times and still laugh at its over the top characters. Wilder served in the U.S. Army between 1956-58. I salute you Mr. Wilder for your comedy and your patriotism.
 
Bob Newhart
 
#2 Bob Newhart struck TV comedy gold twice. His shows — The Bob Newhart Show and Newhart — kept the country laughing for years and challenged the sitcom form. No one does deadpan better than Bob Newhart, who parlayed his wildly successful stand up career into terrific TV and film work. His wry smile has entertained our nation for decades. He was awarded the Mark Twain Prize for Humor in 2002 fifty years after being drafted into the US Army.
 
Mel Brooks
 
#1 Mel Brooks is a comic genius who has transitioned between theatre and film with ease. According to Wikipedia, the American Film Institute ranked three of his movies in the top 100 comedic films of all time. In fact, Blazing Saddles, The Producers and Young Frankenstein cracked the top 13! That’s impressive. Add to that Spaceballs and History of the World, Part I, and you’ve got a weekend of Netflix queued up. And this creative god was drafted during World War II. Wonder where the inspiration for The Producers comes from?
 
On this national holiday, I am grateful for these fine men, not only for their comedic prowess, but their willingness to protect our country so we can enjoy comedy.



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New York Comedy Festival

Categories: Comedians,Latest News
Posted: November 8, 2012
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The best city in the world has taken a beating recently. Hurricane Sandy followed by a Noreaster. We really need a good laugh. As luck would have it, the New York Comedy Festival is presenting some of comedy’s top headliners — male headliners anyway — through November 11th. The festival’s got Robin Williams, Ricky Gervais, Aziz Ansari, Jim Gaffigan, Bill Maher, Marlon and Shawn Wayans, and Artie Lange. You can catch these big names at the Apollo Theater, the Beacon and Town Hall or check out other shows at UCB East, The Creek and The Cave and The Stand, among others.
 
Anyone who has read my blog knows I’m a huge fan of Patton Oswalt. And, I’m excited to check out his show on Friday, November 9th at Town Hall. I think he’s one of the funniest comics today as well as a genuinely great actor. I never tire of watching his work. Check out one of his famous routines below.
 

 
And if you get a chance, see him at the New York Comedy Festival this Friday.



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There Will Be a Show Tonight November 3rd

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Posted: November 3, 2012
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Power has been restored to downtown Manhattan. Tonight, there will be a performance of Ted Greenberg’s The Complete Performer. Hope to see you at the show. The fun starts at 10:00 pm at SoHo Playhouse (15 Vandam Street between Varick and Sixth Ave.).



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David Yazbek at 92YTribeca Is Not to Be Missed

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Posted: November 1, 2012
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On any given night, there are 300+ shows to see in New York City. This coming Monday night, November 5th, there’s only one place you need to be: 92YTribeca. As long as the power is restored to downtown Manhattan by then. One of my dearest friends and former access cable co-host David Yazbek will begin his monthly concert series.
 
David Yazbek
 
Since David and I won Emmys while writing for David Letterman in the 1980s, he’s gone on to write the music and lyrics for three Broadway musicals based on films: The Full Monty, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. Now’s your chance to see him perform with his band — David Yazbek & His Warmest Regards. And alongside some very talented featured musical guests. First up is Adam Guettel; the Tony Award-winning composer of Light in the Piazza, Floyd Collins and Saturn Returns. And he will sing — a very rare and special occurrence.
 
Tickets are only $25 in advance ($30 day of). You may purchase yours at 92&Tribeca’s web site</a>. If there’s one show to see in New York this week (outside of mine — Ted Greenberg’s The Complete Performer), it’s David Yazbek & His Warmest Regards.



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