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  1. cultural capital
    Naked Comedy: Less Arousing Than It Sounds “Clothing required on your left, clothing optional on your right,” greeted the usher for the Naked Comedy Showcase at the PIT over the weekend. One middle-aged woman shimmied out of her skirt (and everything else) to the tune of “Hey Ya!” with about as much fanfare as someone getting ready for a shower, which provoked not whistles but rather indifference. Host Andy Ofiesh, a pudgy redhead who notes that “my penis is fun size; you can fit the whole thing your mouth,” introduced Tommy D., who’s proud of his copious body hair and man boobs, and had his cell phone tucked into his white socks and sneakers. He read poetry while a tiny bead of a mysterious white substance dripped off his balls onto the ground — the first clue that although this was indeed naked, it wouldn’t necessarily inspire hooking up after the show.
  2. 21 questions
    Eugene Mirman Is An Excellent NoticerName: Eugene Mirman Age: 32 Job: Comedian; appearing in tonight’s Laugh Don’t Destroy, a comedy benefit for Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn Neighborhood: Park Slope Who’s your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional? It’s a toss-up between FDR and Spider-Man. What’s the best meal you’ve eaten in New York? I love Brooklyn Fish Camp — lobster knuckles, Louisiana lump crab au gratin, whole fried fish that’s been punched in the face and yelled at — it’s all delicious. Blue Ribbon is also great, and open till 4 a.m. Their foie gras is to die for (at least for the geese). In one sentence, what do you actually do all day in your job? I hold a mirror up to society, and also drink a lot. And I break rules, or at least guidelines.
  3. in other news
    Al Franken Decides He’s Good Enough, Smart Enough to Run for SenateIt’s semi-official: Al Franken is running for the U.S. Senate from Minnesota. This info, coming from a “senior Democratic official,” retroactively explains the former Upper West Sider’s hasty exit from Air America earlier this week. (He’d already moved himself and his show back to his home state two years ago.) But those that expect the race to be a nice comic diversion from the other 2008 carnage should look elsewhere. Franken is not a novelty candidate — not that that would be a problem in Minnesota, post–Jesse Ventura — and Republicans there, rather than dusting off old Stuart Smalley clips, are already saying unfunny things like “Minnesotans will reject Franken’s divisive, scorched-earth attacks.” He was also a close friend of Minnesota’s liberal, lamented Paul Wellstone, who died in a plane crash in 2002; a Franken candidacy is likely to invoke the specter of the popular senator. At any rate, this should be interesting. Franken to Run for Senate in Minnesota [USAT]
  4. party lines
    Lewis Black Lost It for CharityPoor Lewis Black. It’s his shtick to be irritated, yes. But usually it’s because he wants to be irritated. At Jon Bon Jovi and Kenneth Cole’s R.S.V.P to HELP benefit last night, the Tribeca Rooftop crowd was so noisy Black couldn’t get a word in — and he wasn’t pleased. The comic launched his act with a tirade about the long Christmas season — and we can’t imagine why that bit didn’t grab the crowd in late January — before growing frustrated with the noise. He first tried to just laugh it off, telling people go ahead and talk, it’s not like anyone’s onstage or anything. But partygoers — who seemed so unfamiliar with the benefit scene that one gal bid $50,000 on a Harley only to rescind it seconds later — took the joke as direction and turned up the volume of their chitchat.
  5. cultural capital
    Janeane Garofalo, Mellower With AgeA diminutive, slightly disheveled, and seemingly mellowed with age Janeane Garofalo officially returned to standup last night – and had her first headlining gig in years – at Comix, the new comedy club in the Meatpacking District. “Don’t ask to borrow any money from me,” the notoriously angsty and self-deprecating comic said. “It’s not like that now. My career tanked in 1998. After Mystery Men it was over.” She went on to talk about her dilapidated co-op (an impulse buy circa 1996), her herniated disk (a 2000 injury endured after drunkenly falling off a golf cart), and her decision to quit drinking entirely (see previous parenthetical). She said she now spends her time taking copious notes while watching the History Channel, ruminating on the Big Bang Theory, finding Rachael Ray’s $40 A Day “horribly offensive,” and swooning over any and all incarnations of Pride and Prejudice’s Mr. Darcy. (“I’m not made of wood, people. Come on!”). And Garofalo has even discovered beading; she tossed out handmade necklaces to the eager yupster crowd. —Rachel Wolff
  6. intel
    For This Al Gore Invented the Internet?Fresh on the heels of the Chris Hitchens–Graydon Carter–Rachel Sklar debate over whether women are, in fact, not funny, The Morning News today examines a much more important question: Why are Jews so very funny? Writer Wayne Gladstone explains how he once answered the question: I decided to give my friend the politically correct answer: that the Jews had been forced into comedy by the downsizing of the Zionist government and continued outsourcing of baptized-baby blood-drinking jobs. Hilarious! Actually, he’s got a longer and more serious analysis that’s worth reading. And when you’re done, keep checking back. We’re eagerly awaiting upcoming features on why black people laugh so loudly and Wasps can’t time punch lines. The Confession of an American Jew [The Morning News]
  7. intel
    Scenes From the East Village: David Cross EditionDramatis personae: Will Arnett, Amy Poehler, and a laughing, unsteadily walking David Cross. In front of Professor Thom’s, Second Avenue between 13th and 14th Streets. Last night, approximately 1 a.m. ARNETT, POEHLER, and CROSS exit the bar, where apparently, Fred Armisen was hosting an open-bar birthday party. CROSS Oh, man, put another one in the bag! CROSS staggers across the sidewalk and directly into a news box. The news box falls over and hits the ground with a thunk. CROSS does likewise. CROSS slides across the top of the news box in slow motion, then lies splayed on the ground next to it. ARNETT and POEHLER stand alongside, laughing too hard to help. A minute passes. ARNETT composes himself to offer a hand to CROSS. CROSS, suddenly moving quickly, springs up as if on his fifth Red Bull. CROSS See ya! As quickly as he’d arisen, CROSS disappears into a cab. Exeunt.Jada Yuan
  8. the morning line
    Goya, Oh, Boy-a! • The female victim of yesterday’s strange shooting died. The attacked couple, who share a cul-de-sac with the Clintons in Chappaqua, were supposedly run off the road in an ambush. The husband, a disbarred lawyer, is in the hospital; cops are finding his account of the events somewhat odd; and we’re getting a queasy feeling that we’ll be returning to this story quite a bit. [WNBC] • Good news: New York State’s top court has green-lighted an almost $2 billion increase in funding for New York City’s schools. Bad news: Lower courts had ruled the city deserved $4.7 billion. Squaring the ruling with campaign pledges to boost funding much further is Spitzer’s first homework assignment. [NYT] • Now that Citigroup is paying the Mets $20 million a year to call the new ballpark Citi Field, the MTA wants in. The Daily News reports that the authority is in talks with the Citi people about renaming the closest subway stop. In other news, meet our new cat Citi. We prefer cash. [NYDN] • Not sure whether Michael Richards’s appalling comedy-club outburst was our territory — he is, after all, only a fictional New Yorker — but am New York made him a cover story today, so there you go: TV’s Kramer is a racist and sucks at shutting down hecklers. Also, he was weird on Letterman. Video, etc. Blech. [amNY] • The stolen Goya is back! The FBI recovered 1778’s Children With a Cart, stolen two weeks ago in Pennsylvania, after a New Jersey man recognized the painting “from media coverage.” And not just because it was, you know, a Goya. In New Jersey. [NYP]
  9. cultural capital
    The Approval Matrix Meets Comedy Central’s Autism Benefit We were at the Comedy Central autism benefit the other night — pardon us, the “Night of Too Many Stars: An Overbooked Benefit for Autism Research,” which raised more than $2 million — minding our own reportorial business on the red carpet, when Will “Gob Bluth” Arnett, came bounding over to talk to us. Why? Because it seems he’s an Approval Matrix fan. “I’m just trying to stay on the highbrow-brilliant side of things,” he told us. “Although maybe asking to get on the Matrix is considered lowbrow-despicable. I’ll let the people decide. I don’t mind being despicable. All I care is that I’m highbrow, either way.” We’d actually say asking to be on the Matrix is more lowbrow than despicable, but, still, Arnett will always be highbrow to us. With his inspiration, a quasi-Matrixy look at the event.