Andy Daly

What We're Loving: Life Experience, Cooked Hamm Sandwich, Illiterate Hollywood

photo (1)Each Friday, DCH performers, teachers, and students offer their recommendations for what to watch, read, see, hear, or experience. This week David Allison finds a new favorite tv show, Ashley Bright might be the real Don Draper, and Ryan Callahan pays a visit to 1980's Hollywood.

imgresLook, I am well aware that Andy Daly has been talked about before on this website, specifically here and here. With that said, his new show Review is my favorite thing on television right now and you need to know to check it out.  The program is a stateside interpretation of an Australian show where a host, Forrest MacNeil (Daly), reviews and rates life experiences like doing cocaine, going to prom, and being Batman.  Each episode opens with the quote “Life, it’s literally all we have, but is it any good?” which is a perfect summation of what to expect.

The show is four episodes in and, unlike most shows of this type, each episode builds on the previous  Thus far, the peak has come in week three. The episode begins with his review of eating fifteen pancakes, a task he previously found unimaginable as he’s “never eaten more than two pancakes in a month.”  The way the episode heightens his pain in the next two reviews is beautiful and I refuse to spoil any of it.  Review can be seen on Thursdays at 9 pm cst on Comedy Central or you can just come over and we’ll watch it together. Either way works for me, I just want to make sure you check out this show. - David Allison

mad-men-season-6-jon-hamm-2I'll admit it: I'm partial to Jon Hamm. His appearances during the live 30 Rock episodes were some of my favorite moments of the show. And if I can personally relate to any fictional character, it's Don Draper. You may be thinking to yourself, "Geez Ashley, you must think you're quite the cool customer." I do, but I also relate to his less cool (i.e. slightly crazy) emotional complexities. Also, we learned in the "Zu Bi Zu Bi Zu" episode that Don's birthday is June 1 - so is mine! I've gotten off topic trying to convince you that I'm as cool as Don Draper. This week I watched A Young Doctor's Notebook starring Jon Hamm and Daniel Radcliffe. I've only watched the four episodes available on Netflix, but it was such an intriguing 80 minute nugget that I can't wait to watch the rest. So far, two seasons of four episodes each have aired on BBC. The show is cringingly amusing. I literally cringed and covered my eyes while watching it. But I also laughed. It's dark and different and recommend giving it a watch. And not just because I'm partial to Jon Hamm. - Ashley Bright

jon-peters-book-0905-03Stories of behind-the-scenes drama and the clash of creative egos have always appealed to me. Over the past few years, books like Difficult Men, Pictures at a Revolution, and Marvel: The Untold Story earned a spot on my nightstand with their gossipy takes on artists and wannabe-artists behaving badly, boldly, and blindly. Hit and Run by Nancy Griffin and Kim Masters, which I read this week, tells the story of Sony's disastrous foray into the movie business. But that's not why I'm writing about it. I'm writing about it because it contains a treasure trove of the best kind of Hollywood stories: Jon Peters stories. Jon Peters stories are the best. For those who don't know, Peters, pictured at left carrying his business partner Peter Guber, is a famous Hollywood rags to riches story. A high school drop-out turned hairdresser, Peters became, thanks to then girlfriend Barbra Streisand, a producer on the remake of A Star is Born. Peters used Streisand's clout and his own brand of personal intensity to make the movie about his love affair with Streisand. It was a six million dollar home movie. And it was a hit. From there, Peters was off and running, using his relationships, his force of will, and his fearsome temper, to become one of the richest and most powerful producers in Hollywood, despite being largely illiterate.

Today, Peters is remembered, if he's remembered at all, as the man who wanted to make a Superman movie where Superman didn't fly, didn't wear his costume, and fought a giant mechanical spider. But in his day, Jon Peters was the 800 pound gorilla. Nobody did it bigger, costlier, or crazier. Hit and Run is full of Jon Peters stories: Jon Peters wooing Swedish supermodel Vendela by sending her a private jet full of flowers. Jon Peters visiting the set of Rain Main and asking Dustin Hoffman whether he played, "the retard or the other guy." Jon Peters breaking the jaw of a marketing executive and then hiding under a desk when the cops came. They don't make them like Jon Peters anymore, nor should they. Hollywood is, was, and will always be, the real Land of Misfit Toys. For a while, Jon Peters was the greatest misfit of all. I'm thankful that a man like him exists, and that I never have to meet him. - Ryan Callahan

What We're Loving: Kid Detectives, Inspirational Humans, Dead Men Fighting, British Conversations

CommunityEvery Friday, DCH performers, teachers and students offer their recommendations for things to watch, read, see, hear or experience. This week David Allison suggests a tip to Hulu, Sarah Wyatt spreads the gospel, Ryan Callahan finds stories that keep him up at night, and Nick Scott has his  preconceptions shattered. Thursday night, NBC will air Donald Glover’s last episode of Community. Cue crying montageEven though he’s just thirty years old, Glover has an incredibly diverse career that many comedy fans may not fully be aware of. He’s showed off his ability to rap on Community and under the moniker Childish Gambino. He’s written for 30 Rock, (and provided the occasional cameo). And, along with the Derrick Comedy members DC Peirson and Dominic Dierkes, created a series of fantastic sketches that tackle issues like werewolves in radio stations and Bro Rape.

Mystery TeamI’m going to assume that everyone is watching Community, so my recommendation this week is a great movie called Mystery Team. After hitting it “Internet big” a number of years ago, Derrick Comedy took a step back, pooled their resources and decided to make a movie.  The film follows the story of  three kid detectives that have grown into high schoolers, but refuse to give up their investigative hobby. I love their ability to play the dumbest characters (Peirson plays a trivia braniac, Dierkes a strong man and Glover a master of disguise) in very real situations. Also, it has some great support lent by Jon Daly (Rafflecast and Kroll Show) and Bobby Moynihan (SNL). Moynihan steals every scene he's in. The entire film is fantastic and necessary viewing for comedy fans, especially because it’s free on Hulu. - David Allison

Andy DalyAndy Daly is the funniest guy I know. We’ve never met but I feel like he would be cool with me saying that. You probably know him best from his stint on MADtv back in the day, but he is so much more than that. Andy Daly is killing it in the comedy game. He is everything I aspire to be as an improviser, comedian and human being. He is a great listener, he always follows the fun of a scene, his characters are off the hook and he just seems like a genuinely great person. He has a new show, Review, set to debut on Comedy Central this spring, one day after my birthday. He also has a new podcast, The Andy Daly Podcast Pilot Project, debuting in February that promises to be truly amazing. This podcast came about because of his amazing characters on the Comedy Bang Bang podcast. Cactus Tony, Chip Gardner and Don Dimello are just a few of his creations that I urge you to do yourself a favor and listen to immediately. I have never laughed so hard by myself than I did while listening to the Cactus Tony episode of Comedy Bang Bang. Daly is also wonderful and underrated as Principal Cutler on Eastbound & Down. I hope this post reaches every corner of the globe because people need to know the comedic gold that is Andy Daly, and I am happy to spread that gospel. Daly is about to blow up, and he would totally be OK with me saying that. - Sarah Wyatt 

McSweeney's 45McSweeney's Quarterly Concern Volume 45: Hitchcock and Bradbury Fight in Heaven is catnip for short-story lovers like me. Inspired by two anthologies—one edited by Alfred Hitchcock, one by Ray Bradbury—which McSweeney's Editor Dave Eggers found at used-book sales, this collection features a fine mix of old sci-fi and mystery/suspense stories, from the obscure but brilliant (Julian May's Dune Roller) to the often-anthologized and brilliant (John Cheever's The Enormous Radio) to the simply brilliant (Franz Kafka's In The Penal Colony). With the exception of new stories from Brian Evenson, China Melville, Benjamin Percy and E. Lily Lu, everything  in this issue was pulled from anthologies edited by Bradbury or Hitchcock in the 1930's, 40's or 50's. Also included, and of particular delight, are the original introductions. Hitchcock's introduction is predictably brief and droll and familiar in tone to his TV intros, while Bradbury's is a hidden little gem, a paean to the revitalizing powers of stories, which offer the reader "that sense of living on the margin of impossibility." Once I opened this compendium of classic tales, I found it nigh impossible to put down, and I continued reading and reading late into the night, repeatedly convincing myself that I could read one more story before bed, just one more. - Ryan Callahan

the_trip_poster01Watching two moderately known British actor/comedians eat a series of meals throughout the English countryside doesn't seem like that great of a concept for a TV show or movie. At least that's what I thought until I saw The Trip. Originally a television mini-series on the BBC, in 2010 it was re-edited into a single feature-length movie for American audiences. The movie stars Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon as exagerrated versions of themselves, hired to travel to multiple fancy restaurants throughout northern England. The two spend most of the meals doing their excellent celebrity impressions and riffing on pop culture, but the movie also explores Coogan's character's inflated sense of self and struggle to be a good father, as well as Brydon's desire to be at home with his family rather than out doing celebrity things. But it's the chemistry between the two that makes the movie/show work.

Outside of perhaps remembering his part as the Director in Tropic Thunder or as the lead role in Hamlet 2, some of you may be hearing of Steve Coogan for the first time recently, as he was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay for Philomena in this year's Academy Awards. In my list of comedic heroes, Coogan is pretty high up there. I've watched just about everything he's done, including some unfortunate movie choices. Anything featuring his Alan Partridge character is a must watch. All of his talents are on display in The Trip, and it's interesting to see him, even fictionally, comment on his career. Brydon I was only familiar with thanks to Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story (also starring Coogan and directed by Michael Winterbottom, who also directed The Trip), but all it took was watching him share one meal with Coogan and I was on board. I would say more about the movie, but it would it would be as entertaining as having someone describe someone's impression or joke later. Better to just watch. And if you can, I highly recommend finding the original BBC show, as much was cut out before releasing it as a film for American audiences. RUNNER UP PICK: The 9/11 Commission Report - Nick Scott

Andy Daly and Character Acting

Andy DalyI've been really getting into Fast Company's Master Class series online, which interviews successful people in a variety of creative jobs for their tips and tricks. Last night, I read one that I thought would interest improvisers. In "Master Class: Andy Daly on How to be a Character," Daly shares some ways that can help you become a better character on stage. And we all know that character work can be challenging for a lot of performers (me included).

For example, a lot of people think characters always have to speak with an accent. Not true, Daly says.

Characters should have different ways of moving physically, and different ways of speaking. It doesn’t have to be dialect. People have different modes of speech, but there are no rules. I can imagine somebody being a great character comic who doesn’t follow my rules at all and in some way presents every character as a variation on the same guy.

Daly also suggest using your surroundings to influence your character choices.

Some of my characters were inspired just by where I was. Improv Olympic, for instance, was practically on Hollywood and Vine, which was such a seedy, dilapidated area then. The guy who’s new to Hollywood, that character grew out of just being in that part of town...

The whole article is worth a read and will give you ideas about character acting that you can bring to the DCH stage.

Other Master Class articles you may be interested in:

How to Develop Bits Like a Late Night Talk Show Writer How Tig Notaro is Finding the Comedy in Tragedy (Without the Time) How to Write for Any Medium (From a Guy Who's Written for The New Yorker, Saturday Night Light," and Pixar)

What are some suggestions you have for creating characters and maintaining them throughout a scene? Please let us know in the comments.