Back in 2019 when live comedy was still a thing. I booked and produced a show at Crooked Vine Winery featuring comedian and writer Laurie Kilmartin. She is one of the funniest comedian around, hands down.
I had been producing comedy shows in the Bay Area for about a year, booking local comics. Once I got the hang of it, I decided to reach out to one of my favorites. I think I first saw Laurie on Conan O’Brien where she is also a writer for the show.
We couldn’t have asked for a better night for the show. The weather was terrific. We had two amazing food trucks and everyone who performed has the audience laughing their ass off.
I don’t have any video I can share, but trust me, it was awesome.
The highlight for me was getting to hang out with Laurie the next day as I gave her a ride to the airport.
Several people whose opinion I trust(ed) have told to me to check out “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” because I like comedy so much. Oh my god, I could barely make it through the first episode. I hated it so much, words couldn’t describe it. Thank God, Emily Nussbaum, TV critic from the “New Yorker” did it for me.
The Cloying Fantasia of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
The production landed at an ideal moment, tapping into a desperation among women for something sweet. For me, it felt grating.
Everyone overacted in the episode I saw. Like “Madman”, its a reproduction of a reproduction. The creators appear to be modernizing the past as it should have been instead of portraying it the way it probably was. What’s next? A remake of “I Dream of Jeannie” with some stupid twist like a secret dominatrix lair in her bottle?
I wanted to like Mrs. Maisel because I wanted to find a show I liked period. It has a great cast and the premise (though I haven’t seen Tony Shaloub this cliched since “Wings”). To say it’s edgy is to misunderstand the term. Instead, it’s horribly precocious and pretentious. But that’s not the worst thing about it. It’s phony, sterile, and predictable like a Dan Brown book.
I remember when everyone was reading “The Da Vinci Code”. They talked about it like they had been reading some illuminated manuscript they discovered in the catacombs of the Vatican.
We were out to dinner with a bunch of friends who had all read it. Everyone was sharing parts they loved. I finally chimed in, and per my usual, ruined the moment, and said, “doesn’t it bother any of you that Langdon pretty much solves everything on the first try?” Pause, and everyone went back to gushing over the book like it wasn’t fiction “I had no idea Opus Dei existed.”
The Da Vinci Code and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel remind me of Michael Crichton’s books – a tired hero trope with a veneer of research. It’s like someone took some Elmer’s glue and stuck a hardcover version of a better book over a ratty pulp paperback.
I’m glad to see scripted television come back, but the glut of reality TV and user generated content on YouTube has lowered the bar that even mediocre and unoriginal are good enough to escape real criticism.
Last night, we grabbed dinner and saw Tom Papa live at Cobb’s Comedy Club in San Francisco. It was all new material, and he was absolutely hilarious the whole time.
Before the show, we had dinner at Cafe Zoetrope, at the edge of North Beach. The food was pretty good, just traditional Italian. There was nothing subtle about this being Francis Ford Coppola’s restaurant, and yet it felt like every other Italian café. The walls were covered with posters and pictures from all his classic movies as well and vintage ones. It’s like someone, possibly Coppola, sells a kit to get you started.
Last night I went to see Maria Bamford with a couple friends. She performed at Cobb’s Comedy Club in North Beach. Before the show we had dinner at Kennedy’s, an Irish-Indian restaurant. It was mostly Indian.
It was also game 7 of the World Series and many of the San Francisco bars were packed, especially the Irish-ish ones. The Giants beat the Kansas City Royals 3-2 after a couple of high scoring games for both sides.
The show was decent. The two opening acts didn’t do much for me. The first one stuck to her script. She was heavy, so of course she did something about food and her size. I did like her joke that here in California, she’s fat. In the south she looks like she can cook. The other comic took a while to warm up, but did get some laughs out of me toward the end of her set.
Maria Bamford did all new stuff. She’s definitely better on a smaller stage in a club setting. I watched a clip of her on Conan O’Brien and it was awkward.