Ted Greenberg's The Complete Performer

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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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Ted Greenberg’s Top Five Taxi Entertainments

Categories: Taxi Cabs
Posted: December 6, 2011
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As the writer/performer of the only Off-Broadway comedy show with a free cab ride home, I’m often asked my opinion about the portrayal of taxi drivers and taxis in movies and on television.  As a taxi cab driver, I, of course, have a strong opinion on the matter.

 

Here’s my list for my Top 5 Taxi Entertainments:

 

1) Taxi DriverMartin Scorsese’s 1976 dark film about a former Vietnam vet turned taxi driver (Robert De Niro in a groundbreaking role) inspired me to get my hack license in the 1980s.  From the moment I saw this classic film, I was in awe of how the film captured Gotham’s haunting allure, especially the night scenes.

 Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver, Ted Greenberg's Top Five Taxi Entertainments.

2) Women on the Verge of a Nervous BreakdownPedro Almodovar’s zany 1988 film features one of the most outrageous taxis in the history of the world.  With a whimsical cab interior that’s equal parts Liberace and Lady Gaga, I’m not sure why anyone would ever get out of this vehicle. Last year, a musical stage adaptation of the film opened on Broadway. My childhood friend and David Letterman co-writer David Yazbek wrote the show’s music and lyrics and received a Tony Award nomination for Outstanding Score. And, the production’s taxi driver (Danny Burstein) was as hilarious and riveting as Guillermo Montesinos was in the film.

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown taxi photo

 

3) Night on Earth – Filmmaker Jim Jarmusch has great hair. Great white hair.  The Mascot and I are NOT jealous. Not jealous at all.  Mainly because he also makes really great films.  His 1991 effort Night on Earth follows five cab drivers in five cities – New York, Paris, Helsinki, Los Angeles and Rome.  While I wouldn’t mind having Beatrice Dalle as a passenger (she is fantastic as a blind Parisian), I’m a New Yorker at heart. Just like Jarmusch.
Photo from Night on Earth, 1991 film by Jim Jarmusch

 

4) Taxi – Having been nominated twice for the Andy Kaufman Award, how can I not love the iconic TV show that starred the comic genius alongside Judd Hirsch, Marilu Henner, Danny De Vito, Tony Danza and the late Jeff Conway?

Taxi TV show starring Andy Kaufman

 

5) Friends – On the famous comedy TV show, Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) was bequeathed a yellow cab by her grandmother.  The cab was featured in the show on occasion, including a visit to Phoebe’s mom in season 3.  Her mom was played by the inimitable Teri Garr, who turned in comic gold performances in Young Frankenstein, Mr. Mom and Tootsie and was a regular guest on the David Letterman show while I was a writer there.  Here’s a video of Garr’s 1987 visit to Letterman:

 

http://youtu.be/0-gCGZJ8V0w

 

What’s your favorite taxi featured in a film, TV show or play?



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