Elevate Difference

Reviews tagged comedy

Vag Magazine

I didn’t think it was even figuratively possible to shoot yourself in the foot while disappearing up your own behind, but the characters in Vag Magazine have proven otherwise. This eerily well-observed sketch show from the women of the Upright Citizens Brigade is watchable and rewatchable by third wave feminists and those who love them—or who love to laugh at them—especially since every episode is available on the web.

It’s Kind of a Funny Story

It’s not very often that people take the time to explore the mind of a teenager and it’s even less frequent that this exploration takes place on the Silver Screen. In the current cultural climate, teenagers are nearly an endangered species; 1.6 million are homeless, and those fortunate enough to have a roof over their heads face daily struggles with bullying, body image, sexual predators, and the intense stress of a failing educational system. Even, or maybe especially, those of privilege, who come from stable homes and elite educational institutions are crippled by an overwhelming expectation to succeed.

We Have To Stop Now

We Have To Stop Now is freakin’ hilarious, excruciating, and perfect. You have to watch it. Convention dictates that I now tell you why. It all started in 1994 when I watched the Out There Comedy Special on Comedy Central while I was in college. Suzanne Westenhoefer had a ten minute stand up set on that one-off queer comedy show, and I was hooked. So when I saw her name on this blog’s list of review items, followed by the words “lesbian” and “comedy tv series,” I requested that I be the one to review it.

Cho Dependent Tour (9/23/2010)

Margaret Cho's hour-long set at The Grove began with a story about her recent experiences as a contestant on Dancing with the Stars that parlayed into a story about using a vocal coach from American Idol while touring in support of her newly released album Cho Dependent. Apparently her vocal coach made her drink shots of olive oil when she developed a sore throat, and as a result, Cho suffered from uncontrollable flatulence and diarrhea. This was a reoccurring theme of the night (I actually wasn’t aware Cho had such a penchant for poop jokes), and while I spent half of Cho’s act loving her intensely and laughing out loud, the other half I found myself wondering if she’d lost her edge.

Easy A

Remember when Superbad was released and everyone was freaking out about what a great teen film it was? Did you wonder why the story didn't include the ways girls break the rules in high school? I did. But the film did have a minor yet interesting female role, Jules, who was made memorable by the candid humor of newcomer Emma Stone. In Easy A, Stone effortlessly tackles her first starring role, and presents a realistic story of teenage identity, friendship, and the challenges of self-discovery.

Cho Dependent

To call comedienne Margaret Cho’s latest endeavor, Cho Dependent, a comedy album seems like a disservice. Though songs like “Calling in Stoned” (featuring the ever-stoned Tommy Chong), “Your Dick,” and “Eat Shit and Die” do little for my argument, Cho Dependent is completely unlike her six previous comedy albums. This, my friends, is Cho’s foray into the music world, and a damn fine one at that.

The Owls

The anticipation for Cheryl Dunye’s latest feature, an experimental narrative entitled The Owls (Older Wiser Lesbian) was high as information about the project has been accessible for some time. The filmmaker and actors belong to the Parliament Film Collective, a matrix of lesbian and new queer cinema creativity. The film cost $22,000 to make, and seems to fit in with the challenge made by Maya Deren to make good affordable films.

The Other Guys

Adam McKay is one of a million: a writer and director who can put together a great trailer. Too bad the feature presentation of The Other Guys is so long and boring that it chokes on its own machismo.


The first feature film of Lyès Salem, Masquerades is a lighthearted and quirky comedy about an Algerian gardener, Mounir Mekbek, who dreams of a life beyond the confines of his sleepy village. His arrogance combined with his “responsibility” for a narcoleptic younger sister, Rym, make him the laughingstock of his community. He is a misunderstood dreamer who has aspirations, but can’t quite seem to pull himself together to meet the goals he has set for himself.

Dinner for Schmucks

In the formulaic plots that have developed in mainstream comedies over the last several years the re-occurring theme seems to be male idiocy. The Will Ferrells and Steve Carrells of the comedy world have delighted in creating man-children characters who don’t exist on the normal plane of human intelligence. They come equipped with stock sex jokes, like not understanding the female anatomy, or overconfidence that their incorrect knowledge of basic vocabulary is accurate.

Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work

In the previous millennium when I was an idealistic young thing attending Barnard College, the women’s college affiliated with Columbia University, there was a lot of talk about who before us had walked the hallowed halls: anthropologist Margaret Mead; writers Edna St. Vincent Millay, Zora Neale Thurston, Francine du Plessix Gray, Patricia Highsmith and Ntozake Shange; recent United States ambassador to the U.N. Jeanne Kirkpatrick; musicians Laurie Anderson and Suzanne Vega (whose song “Luka” was then on all the airwaves); NPR’s Susan Stamberg; nationally syndicated columnist Anna Quindlen; choreographer Twyla Tharp; and a pre-Omnimedia Martha Stewart, whose daughter had also recently attended.

Soul Kitchen

Soul Kitchen is a lot like cotton candy—sweet but, ultimately, not very satisfying. Like many festival favorites, the plot of this independent German film revolves around a cast of lovably quirky characters who get themselves eye-deep into trouble. Zinos (Adam Bousdoukos), a German of Greek descent, has a lot of stuff on his plate. He’s the proprietor of Soul Kitchen, a struggling eatery in a rundown section of Hamburg. The tax people, led by Frau Schuster (Catrin Striebeck), are knocking at his door.

A Parallelogram (7/1/2010)

In Euclidean geometry, parallel lines never intersect. In post-Euclidean geometry, all parallel lines under specific conditions—for example, placed on a globe—will converge. In Bruce Norris’ new play, A Parallelogram, parallelogram is the term used to describe a window of sorts in space and time. The protagonist’s future self visits her through such a passage and discloses details of her life and the world to come.


Every year, one of my nieces comes to visit my husband and I for a week over the summer. This year we took her to a couple of art museums, a jazz concert, and her first comic book store. We also did fun things at home like painting our nails and playing video games. On the last day of our visit, we decided to see a movie, and she wanted to see Grown-Ups. I did too, as a matter of fact. I’m happy to report that I genuinely liked the movie.

Lizzy the Lezzy

To celebrate Gay and Lesbian Pride Month, the Sundance Channel has released five digitally animated Lizzy the Lezzy short films featuring the irreverent stand up comedy and musical humor of their title character. Who is this Lizzy the Lezzy – besides an Internet and television phenom who’s been featured on AfterEllen.com and Logo TV’s Alien Boot Camp?

Get Him to the Greek

Aldous Snow (Russell Brand)—the uber-sexual, tongue-in-cheek (and anywhere else you’ll let him stick it) Brit-rocker introduced to audiences in 2008’s Forgetting Sarah Marshall—is back in the latest film from yet another member of the Apatow Film Club for Boys.

Iron Man 2

Before Iron Man hit theatres in 2008, most of us thought of Jon Favreau as the guy who was so money, baby—and he didn't even know it. Critics and audiences expected little from yet another Marvel Comic-inspired film. So when director Favreau delivered an entertaining film with tons of personality (mostly in the form of the amazing Robert Downey Jr.), it was an underdog smash.

Joe Frank (03/13/2010)

To presume to review Joe Frank is somewhat to akin to being a happy floating paramecium—although I do tend to fancy myself more of a sleek euglena, and in reality might more resemble an amorphous and permeable amoeba—to be such a creature, swimming giddily or cluelessly drifting in a little globule of ooze, and to attempt to gaze up through the tensile surface of the liquid from beneath, through the intervening air, up through the lenses of the microscope in their black enamel encasement, although such microscopes may be but a relic of my youth, and then attempt to

I'll Mature When I'm Dead: Dave Barry's Amazing Tales of Adulthood

One of the back cover blurbs on my copy of I'll Mature When I'm Dead states that Dave Barry is "The funniest man in America." Now, I am not quite sure I agree with that, although Barry is quite hilarious. There is no overarching plot to his new book, and I don't think each piece is considered a short story. I guess one could call this book episodic.

Love Goes to Press: A Comedy in Three Acts

It's impossible to dislike a female protagonist who opines, fifteen miles south of the Italian front in the second-to-last year of World War II, "If there's anything I really loathe, it's a woman protector." Delivered by Annabelle Jones, war correspondent for the San Francisco World, in conversation with Jane Mason, war correspondent for the New York Bulletin, this line refers to one of the many well-meaning men who are the butts of the jokes in the play Love Goes to Press.


Based on the 1989 Ron Howard movie Parenthood, writer Jason Katims has revised the premise into a modern day, one-hour drama that explores the many facets of being a parent. The stellar cast includes Lauren Graham (Gilmore Girls), Craig T.

Foolish Words: The Most Stupid Words Ever Spoken

We have all heard them. We have all read them. We have all uttered them. They are foolish words. In her recent book, Foolish Words, Laura Ward has compiled approximately 800 quotes ranging from the humorous to utterly stupid. This is an entertaining collection of verbal blunders, as well as misquotes and misprints. The first chapter, "Brain in Neutral - Mouth in Drive," will make the reader chuckle.

Chocolate, Please: My Adventures in Food, Fat and Freaks

What is not to love about a comedian who combines the raunch of Margaret Cho with the political incorrectness of a Don Rickles, and the acerbic wit of a Dorothy Parker? Lisa Lampinelli deftly employs all of these qualities to describe a hard-fought but nonetheless victorious perspective on her own decisions and accomplishments.

Tehran Has No More Pomegranates

Massoud Bakshim’s Tehran Has No More Pomegranates identifies itself as “a musical, historical, comedy, docu-drama, love story, experimental film.” Attempts to classify the film—as a postmodern visual stew, as a sarcastic video collage-portrait, as a half-tribute-half-roast—don’t quite encapsulate the its nuances.

Zombies of Mass Destruction: A Political Zomedy

Is there anything more delightful than a well-done zombie film? How about a well-done zombie film with an obvious 9/11 parallel and smart, witty female, minority, and gay protagonists? All this and more can be yours with Zombies of Mass Destruction, which is as much social satire and metaphor as a gory, jolly, bloody good undead time. Zombies of Mass Destruction is set in idyllic Port Gamble, Washington, on the date of September 25th, 2003.

I'ma Be Me

In her first HBO comedy special since 2006's Sick & Tired, Wanda Sykes’ I'ma Be Me promises from the outset that she is "not holding anything back." This is a promise she works assiduously to keep throughout the show.

Letting Go of God

The nation appears to be greatly moved by the election of our first African American President. I eagerly await the election of the first open atheist to the highest office in the land, or at least the public consensus that religious practice or lack thereof is someone's own business, and by no means indicates competence as an executive.

White on Rice

I have something to admit upfront: comedies really aren’t my bag. I have a strange sense of humor that only seems to come alive with the zaniest of screwball antics and irreverent, satirical banter. Dick and fart jokes, stand-up, and most slices of modern romcom leave me yawning.

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian

A summer blockbuster with a feminist edge? Yes, that is indeed what we find with the Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian. The film opens with Ben Stiller’s character, Larry Daly, finding himself longing to return to the New York Museum of Natural History in spite of his entrepreneurial successes. He returns just in time to save his museum pals from deep storage in Washington, DC.

Cute Couple

Kendra and Zach are cute. So cute, in fact, that they are the cutest couple in their circle of friends, and everyone tells them so. Repeatedly. However, in writer/director Courtney Moorehead Balaker’s first film, Cute Couple, Kendra and Zach undergo a couplehood identity crisis when an even more adorable couple comes along and changes the group dynamic. Balaker’s clever short comedy was the audience favorite at the Jackson Hole Film Festival in 2008, and it’s easy to see why.