Ted Greenberg's The Complete Performer

Starring Emmy Award winning Letterman writer, Ted Greenberg!

The Mindy Project | Fall’s New Comedy

Categories: Comedy Shows,Latest News
Posted: September 27, 2012

The Emmy Awards show on Sunday capped off the last TV year, anointing Modern Family the comedy, with multiple wins. On Tuesday night, a new comedy continued the wave of women-centric comedies that have taken the world by storm in the last year — Awkward. and Girls. The Mindy Project has a lot riding on it. And not just laughs. This terrific essay in the Hollywood Reporter points out exactly what’s at stake. As the title points out, the show is all about Kaling, who was a regular on the American version of The Office as well as a writer for the show. Like writer/director/star Lena Dunham on Girls, Kaling is cut from a different cloth; she is not a size 0 like many of the starlets on TV. And, she is also Indian-American, a woman of color headlining a major TV series.
Now, as for the show, many critics love it. And, even those that are mixed on the show feel that the pilot shows great potential. Kaling plays an OB/GYN who tries to balance career and love life. She’s not entirely successful, but she is winning. Her addiction to rom-coms and love of Meg Ryan seem to trip her up and keep her from finding real love in a real world. Instead, she’s Sleepless in Seattle. Some of her decisions are questionable — like hooking up with the British doctor — but understandable. The comedy is filmed in a sorta Days and Nights of Molly Dodd way. Single camera with a deadpan style. It mostly works. Some of the jokes are funny.
And clearly Kaling has a lot of famous friends for guest appearances. In the pilot, Bill Hader and Ed Helms both play her love interests. Her supporting cast, notably Chris Messina and Anna Camp, are fabulous. You can watch them in the trailer below.

Some of the jokes — about Serbian teeth — felt a little dated, but some of the longer comedy bits were charming and insightful. And, like Dunham, Kaling doesn’t shy away from the weight angle. Messina’s character even tells her she should lose 15 pounds. But Kaling, writer-star, always gets the last word.
As she points out, “Never speak for Meg Ryan.” I’m happy to let Kaling speak for the former rom-com queen and see where this show heads in future episodes.

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Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler on David Letterman

Categories: Comedians,Latest News
Posted: September 24, 2012

When wrestler Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler had a heart attack on TV a couple weeks ago, I was reminded of his inflammatory appearance on David Letterman’s show while I worked there in the 1980s. Lawler, clearly confident in who he is, chose a nickname that was already taken in his hometown, Memphis, by one of the biggest stars the world over, Elvis Presley. Here’s a brilliant tribute to his talents and his work in the Memphis wrestling world. Yet, he’s carved out a national presence for himself, partially predicated on his tussles with the late comedian Andy Kaufman. Perhaps one of the greatest comedic performance art performances.
Kaufman made fun of low brow wrestling, and Lawler stood up to the challenge. After a wrestling match in which Lawler ‘piledrived’ Kaufman — essentially dropping him on his head — the duo met up on Late Night with David Letterman. Kaufman sported a neck brace, and threatened to sue Lawler for his injury. Well, things don’t go well. Lawler gets in a few jokes and the slap heard around the world. Here are is the video of the famous incidence. It is NSFW.

Here’s to a speedy recovery Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler.

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My Former Boss Gets an Award | David Letterman to Receive Kennedy Center Honor

Categories: Comedians,Latest News
Posted: September 20, 2012

The Kennedy Center Honors has lauded members of the creative arts for their contributions to American culture. This year’s honorees include musician Buddy Guy, actor/director Dustin Hoffman, ballerina Natalia Makarova, and rock band Led Zeppelin. Nearly 20 years after late night talk show pioneer Johnny Carson received his award, David Letterman, my former boss, will receive his.
I’m thrilled for Letterman. I was honored to work as a writer on the early days of Late Night with David Letterman, even winning an Emmy, and there is no one like him. His top ten lists are enduring and part of the national fabric. His interviews are classic. Think about Joaquin Phoenix (nothing was weirder than this) or Teri Garr (I posted about hers before) or Julia Roberts or any presidential candidate. Letterman is golden, witty, incisive and entertaining. Always. And, no one has incorporated their mother into their TV show the way Letterman did. No one. Check out the Joaquin Phoenix interview below.

Mazel tov to you, David Letterman, on this well deserved honor. And what great company you keep. Buddy Guy, Dustin Hoffman and Led Zeppelin are legends in music (Buddy Guy and Led Zeppelin) and film and theater (Dustin Hoffman). Ballerina Natalia Makarova, who isn’t as well known as her counterparts, is also phenomenal. Enjoy receiving the honor and meeting with President Obama. You deserve it.
The honorees are nominated by members of the Kennedy Center’s national artists committee as well as previous recipients of the award. I found this tidbit interesting. Oprah Winfrey, a previous honoree and one-time Letterman nemesis, made recommendations for this year’s award. Maybe burying the hatchet with Oprah years ago after the Oscars fiasco was a fantastic idea. Here’s their make-up interview.

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Comedian Evaluates 2012 Resolutions for Rosh Hashanah

Categories: Latest News
Posted: September 17, 2012

Last night through tomorrow, Jews around the world celebrate the holiday Rosh Hashanah, which is essentially the Jewish New Year. Since I made 12 resolutions to start 2012, I thought today would be the perfect time to reflect on my success rate. As a Jew and a human, I like to hedge my bets…picking both New Year’s — the secular one and Jewish one — to help rev up my resolutions.
Here are the resolutions I laid out last December, and how I’ve fared in bold text.
#1 Stay positive in traffic court. This one is hard. How exactly does one judge positivity? I’ll remember this for next year when making my resolutions. I need to be more concrete.
#2 Play more top-10 radio. With the collection of hits this year from One Direction, Pink and Jason Mraz, I’ve passed this one with flying colors.
One Direction
The guys of One Direction
#3 Get 3 stars before moving to the next level in Angry Birds. Another one down. I’m getting better and better at this pointless game.
#4 Zero hit-and-runs (except cyclists – Kidding!). The year isn’t over yet. Let’s see what the next three months hold.
#5 Ease off Gummy candies. On this point, I have failed. And failed badly. Gummy candies are just too alluring. Damn you Gummy candies.
Gummy Candies

#6 Avoid paparazzi – i.e, no accidents that make traffic reports (not kidding) So far. So good. Thank goodness.

THIS YEAR (at least once!)
#7 While crossing 59th Street Bridge, sing 59th Street Bridge song (aka “Feeling Groovy” by Simon & Garfunkel!). This hasn’t happened yet, but I did sing “New York, New York” while crossing the Manhattan Bridge. Does that count?
#8 See Wicked on Broadway. I’ve still got 100+ days to get this one done. I will. I love musicals about girl empowerment.
#9 Travel to Staten Island (if customer insists). No one has asked me to just yet, but I’m willing. So I’m going to count this one in my favor.
#10 Use Shake Weights. I have not been up late enough to see the informercial for these. Thus, I have not bought them yet. I’ve valued my beauty sleep, but I will get on this. Promise.
#11 Shave, clip nails, and deodorize only at red lights. Guilty as charged. I did clip at a yellow once this year. I must put this one on next year’s list since I failed.
12 When tourists ask for Trump Park, take them to Zuccotti Park instead. And today would be perfect for this since it’s the year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street. Otherwise, tourists would be very befuddled by the trip.
When I made my resolutions, I asked my blog readers to make one too: to see my weekly comedy show Ted Greenberg’s The Complete Performer, A Mostly One-Man Comedy Show. The real question is have you met your resolution? If not, I’m on stage every Saturday night at 10:00 pm at SoHo Playhouse in downtown Manhattan. You can get your tickets here.

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Comedian to Comedian | Interview with Matt Graham

Categories: Comedians,Comedy Shows,Latest News,Off-Broadway Shows
Posted: September 13, 2012

Today, I’m thrilled to continue my interview series with comedians (and in this case Scrabble champion). Matt Graham, who is currently starring in This Too Shall Suck at SoHo Playhouse as part of the Fringe Encore Series spoke to me about his grandmother’s favorite joke of his, whether he prefers Larry Bird or Magic Johnson and what animal he someday wants.
Matt Graham

TED GREENBERG: What are the three books you couldn’t live without?
MATT GRAHAM: Well. Not counting the Bible or this one blue book, which I generally cuddle when I am scared but don’t read anyway, or the Scrabble player’s dictionary. I am gonna say;
(1) The Stranger; most impactful
(2) A Confederacy of Dunces: funniest
(3) and then get cheap and say anything by Vonnegut or William Poundstone (one fiction/one nonfiction).
I am not an avid reader. Did most of it in a binge in my early twenties.
TED GREENBERG: Are you a Bird or a Magic Johnson guy?
MATT GRAHAM: Wow. This is an amazing question, almost as if you know about the evolution of my life. It was always Bird. I grew up in Indiana, lived in Boston and was Celtics before that, and was a player who was used to being the underestimated white dude. However, at some point within the past 5 years, I decided I like Magic better as a player. He was so unselfish, could fill any role, was a star who didn’t really play like a star. On the other hand, Bird was kind of a hotshot, sorta selfish, unduly flashy, etc… I still think he had a couple good years, but he didn’t like it when he wasn’t making the final shot, because then he wouldn’t be taking it, and his ego could not handle that. I still hate the Lakers, and tire of Magic’s overwhelming media presence. So on court it’s Magic by a hair, but off court Bird by a mile.
TED GREENBERG: What was your grandmother’s favorite joke/routine of yours?
MATT GRAHAM: My grandmother only saw me once, early on, and I probably didn’t do well. If I would guess one she would have liked that I did back then – “My little league team was sponsored by a pharmacy. We had to wear childproof caps.”
TED GREENBERG: After you steam/tilt in poker, what do you to get centered?
MATT GRAHAM: I really don’t tilt almost ever, which is funny since the rest of my life often finds me an emotional wreck. I get more concerned about how big wins affect me than big losses. I get centered when running bad by not playing, which is fine. I could take or leave poker, with a small edge toward leave.
TED GREENBERG: Will you have children?
MATT GRAHAM: That would seem a clear no, but the ordering force I perceive in the universe (that I choose to call God) has had me do a lot of things I never thought I would do. If it was the woman of my dreams I would probably be convinced. Still, I love cats and animals so much I have a hard time not seeing that as my nurturing passion. I hope to one day own a capybara (rescued, not one from the wild).
This Too Shall Suck continues through September 24th at SoHo Playhouse. Tickets may be purchased at SoHo Playhouse’s web site.

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Mascot Offers Fashion Tips

Categories: Latest News
Posted: September 10, 2012

Last week, I listed my top five fashion tips, just in time for Mercedes Benz Fashion Week to begin. Before the fashion frenzy closes on Thursday, Mascot Greenberg, my trusty sidekick for Ted Greenberg’s The Complete Performer, wanted to get in on the action.
Here are the Top Five Fashion Tips from Mascot Greenberg:

5. The 80s Never Went Out of Style. The decade of Reagan, Crocodile Dundee and the Chia Pet did bring some good things to life. Namely shoulder pads. If you’ve got a ginormous head like I do, shoulder pads help balance your look. They worked for the ladies of Dynasty, Kate & Allie and Designing Women. Shoulder pads also worked their magic on Crockett and Tubbs, making those handsome devils from Miami Vice look a little more imposing. As I say, always trust Don Johnson.
Miami Vice
4. LMFAO Has Gotten Something Right. I’m a big fan of stripes, plaids and rainbows. Anything that looks like it would fit on a 1980s (there we go again) metal rockin’ head banger, but with a modern twist. Now, what’s interesting about Redfoo, half of the duo LMFAO, is that he brings them all together in a fusion of color, texture and patterns. Not sure how exactly he works it, but his clothing sure looks like a lot of fun.
Redfoo, LMFAO
3. Epaulets Are a Guy’s Best Friend. Girls may have diamonds. We, guys, have epaulets. I’m a huge fan of pageantry and officialdom. Oh, and a little band called The Beatles. How solid do Paul, John, Ringo and George look in this attire? As they say, men in uniforms drive women crazy. Believe me, it’s the epaulets.
The Beatles
2. Vans Aren’t Just for the Road. I dance, prance and move around the stage a lot during the Saturday night comedy show Ted Greenberg’s The Complete Performer. And my trusty shoes are Vans. I don’t hit a dance floor without them. They look sharp, and they let me do my sharp moves.
Vans shoes
1. Kings Have the Right Idea. When you’ve got a head as large as Mascot Greenberg, it’s better to stay away from hats, chapeaus or visors. They just make your head look larger. Instead, embrace crowns, which are decorative and regal. I wear one every Saturday night, and constantly get compliments on it. Just how I roll.
Mascot Greenberg & Ted Greenberg wear the crowns

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Top Five Fashion Tips from a Life-Long New York Comedian

Categories: Latest News
Posted: September 6, 2012

Mercedes Benz Fashion Week rolls into New York City September 6 through 13. The New York Times is already on the case, wondering in this article which celebrities will populate the front rows over the next week. Now, if you haven’t scored one of those coveted tickets to Holmes & Yang or Marc Jacobs, don’t fret. I’ve got some great fashion tips for you, Ryan Lochte and Pippa Middleton as well as all of those Olympians who will be seen among the glitterati at Fashion Week. That’s right, as a lifelong New Yorker, comedian and performer of Ted Greenberg’s The Complete Performer, I’ve learned a few fashion tricks of the trade.
Here are my top five tips for looking cool in the Big Apple:
5. Cuffed Pants Are a Big No No.
As summer comes to a close, I want to offer you some very sage advice. I don’t care if you spend your July and August on a yacht or Cape Cod, there is no excuse for cuffed pants. At least not for any guy over eight-years-old. No one has looked good in those pants since the bad boys of the 1950s. And preppy cool cannot save the look in 2012. Take my word for it, and you’ll be a bigger hit with the opposite sex next summer.
Cuffed Pants
#4 Dickies Can Be a Man’s Best Friend. If you’ve seen my weekly comedy show, Ted Greenberg’s The Complete Performer, you will already appreciate the dickie. But, if you haven’t, let me school you. New York can be a cold town. Temperature wise, that is. And a dickie offers a little neck coverage and warmth without having to pile on a full extra layer. Trust me. Use one and you will love it.
gray dickie
3. Black Shoes Are the Best. I learned a number of things from my dad…card tricks and that black shoes are the only ones to wear. If you want to look stylin’, forgo those tan, gray or taupe shoes. They don’t do your feet any favors. Black is the only color. For shoes. Ask any New Yorker. They know.
Black Shoes
2. ZZ Top Said It. Every girl’s crazy about a sharp dressed man. Sure that was decades ago, and we can argue about their hirsuteness. But, there’s a reason why you’ll see me in a tuxedo at my show. Tuxes never go out of style. So, go ahead and get your tux now, guys. You can thank me later.
Ted Greenberg and Mascot Greenberg
1. Unitards Never Go Out of Style. Preferred by bodybuilders, illusionists and unicyclists, unitards make quite a fashion statement, even in New York City, a city where anything goes. I know Bruno and Borat, Sascha Baron Cohen‘s alter egos, have made the unitard a point of ridicule in recent years. But, don’t believe everything you see. Unitards not only show off a guy’s gams and guns, they differentiate the brave from the cowardly. You’ve got to have the ‘stuff’ to wear one. Check out this photo from the Milan runway last year to see what I mean.
Male unitard

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Comedy Shows Rule Fringe Encores

Categories: Comedy Shows,Latest News
Posted: September 4, 2012

For 16 years, the New York International Fringe Festival has owned August in the Big Apple. The festival has been the place to see emerging talent as well as new plays and musicals. Produced by The Present Company (Elena K. Holy, Producing Artistic Director), FringeNYC has been the launching pad for Broadway, Off-Broadway and Regional shows as well as fertile ground for creating new artistic partnerships and developing the theatre community. Some of the shows that have enjoyed post-FringeNYC life include Urinetown, Silence! The Musical, Tales from the Tunnel, Dog Sees God and Krapp 39.
In recent years, FringeNYC has also been a terrific home for comedians who create and perform solo shows. Since 2008, when my show – Ted Greenberg’s The Complete Performer – started its journey at FringeNYC, three shows starring comics have been selected for Fringe Encores, which is a sort of “best of fest” series presented in September.
This Too Shall Suck
Matt Graham in This Too Shall Suck
This Too Shall Suck, a new solo show by Matt Graham, was this year’s selection. The production has been extended through September 24th at SoHo Playhouse. You’ve probably seen Matt Graham before. Perhaps when he performed stand up on Late Night with Conan O’Brien. Or in the 2004 documentary film Word Wars. In addition to being a comedian, he’s a Scrabble champion. This Too Shall Suck was hailed as a “funny, oddball, occasionally awkward autobiographical show” by The New York Times while NYTheatre.com raved that it is “an emotional punch in the gut rhapsody about being human.” You’ve got four more chances to see it. I suggest you go. I promise it won’t suck.
Two years ago, Micha Wertheim’s so-politically-incorrect-Bill-Maher-would-blush show became the first international show in Fringe Encores after an electrifying run at FringeNYC. In Amsterdam Abortion Survivor, Wertheim skewered everyone and everything — paraplegics, liberals, and his countrymen, the Dutch. TheaterMania.com commended the show, saying “It’s edgy humor, indeed, but he (Micha Wertheim) delivers it with such casual and impish glee — landing closer to Jon Stewart than Dennis Miller — that only touchiest theatergoers are likely to object. And when his act follows the traditional standup route, Wertheim’s timing and delivery are razor-sharp.” Here’s a NSFW video featuring some of Wertheim’s outrageous material.

Four years ago, my show — Ted Greenberg’s The Complete Performer — was selected for Fringe Encores, and I haven’t left the SoHo Playhouse since. That’s right, every Saturday night, I’m on stage at the Huron Club at SoHo Playhouse performing my mostly one-man comedy show.
Ted Greenberg's The Complete Performer
And, I’m thrilled to be part of FringeNYC’s burgeoning comedy show scene. It’s a great place for comics like Matt Graham, Micha Wertheim and myself to try out new material and develop our shows. I cannot wait to see who’s on stage next year.