Sadie Calvano has the fortune — or misfortune — of starring in the CBS comedy “Mom” with two of the best comic actors working today in Emmy-winner Allison Janney and Anna Faris. It’s a chance for the young Southern California native to be on the biggest hit comedy from last year. But, her work often got overshadowed by her co-stars.
Calvano only looks at the positive saying being on a series with two such powerful comic co-stars is a blessing.
“We got really lucky with ‘Mom’ having such an amazing group of people who are so grounded and so smart,” Calvano tells me during a CBS party. “The chemistry on our stage is indescribable.”
Calvano went into the show such a fan of Faris and Janney, it took all of her will power not to become a fanboy the first time she read with them. After the initial shock, “Mom” became a learning experience for the young actress. Before signing on to “Mom,” Calvano had only made guest appearances on TV shows like “Melissa & Joey” and the film “J. Edgar.”
That is, he wanted to be an actor. Only he grew up in Texas, in the type of towns where you didn’t tell your dad you wanted to be an actor and if you were not a jock, you made friends by being funniest guy in the room.
Which is still pretty much his his schtick.
“It’s like I’m in your living room and I’m the funny guy doing all the talking,” says Engvall, the 57-year-old comic, best known for his role in the popular Blue Collar Comedy Tour. He’s the least red-neck of the bunch, he says.
On stage, Engvall is pretty much the same guy you’d see on a Saturday afternoon out at the mall.
“I don’t want them to feel like they’re going to a comedy show,” says Engvall, who was in town Tuesday night at Table Mountain Casino.
Rumor has it, comedian Sebastian Cetina never does the same show twice. His style is described (on his website anyway) as a mix of Eddie Murphy’s character work, Don Rickles’ insult comedy, Robin William’s improv and Andrew Dice Clay’s audience interaction. The Los Angeles-based comic has played the Improv and Laugh Factory, has been featured on Comedy Central and is the host of his own comedy series, the “XXXtreame Comedy Tour.”
Centina headlines the weekly Knuckleheads of Comedy showcase 9 p.m. tonight at Bottoms Up Nightclub. Raymond Navarro, Anthony Stone and Abraham Boche will also perform. Steve “Smokey” Olmos and Noe Castillo host. Tickets are $10.
Fresno has seen a good run of comedians coming through lately, though the shows don’t always get the press they should (I’m working on it, people). For instance, Knoxville, Tenn. comic Jasper Redd, who plays 8 p.m. tonight at Henry’s Cantina in Clovis. Redd is a touring comic who’s been all over TV (“Last Call” with Carson Daly, “Lopez Tonight,” Def Comedy Jam, Tosh.0). His comedy special “Jazz Talk” will be released on Netflix March 15. So see him now! Tickets for the show are $10, or $20 at the door.
The is the first official show from Fresno Comedy Scene.
Zhivago Blea doesn’t have hobbies. He has obsessions. He went pier fishing once and bought a book on tying knots just to be prepared. He’s been a working DJ and a clown (he taught himself to juggle and make balloon animals).
His career in comedy started the same way.
“I just get into stuff. And when I get into stuff I really get into it,” says Blea, a Los Angeles based comedian, who’s been featured on Gabriel Iglesias‘ “Stand-Up Revolution.” Blea headlines a comedy show 9 p.m. tonight at Bottoms Up Nightclub, 4113 W. Swift Ave.
He didn’t jump into the business without doing his homework — quite literally. He started by working bits into casual conversations. When those got laughs, he tracked down and took a class in stand-up comedy. After graduation, he started looking for stage time, making connections with other performers — but he only performed once a month of so.
“And then people want to start paying you,” Blea says. He always told them to watch his set before they made that kind of commitment. He has to remind himself that this is sort of his job now. “I just keep doing it and doing it and realize I’ve been at it for awhile.”
Dis/Orient/Ed Comedy is the first-ever (mostly) all-female, all Asian-American comedy tour. The brainchild of Los Angeles comics Jenny Yang and Atsuko Okatsuka, the tour has played to sell-out crowds up and down the West Coast. It comes to Fresno, 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Tower Theatre. Featured comics include Yang, Okatsuka and Helen Hong.
Tickets for the show are available at the Tower Theatre box office or online at disorientedcomedy.com ($5 off if you use the coupon code “fresnobee”).
Of course, we have a pair of tickets for one lucky Beehiver. To enter to win, leave a comment on this post. Tell us who is your favorite comedienne. This is a quick one: Deadline is 5 p.m. tonight. Winners will be informed by email and will need to come down to The Bee’s front counter by 5 p.m. Friday to claim the tickets. Full rules plus videos of Yang and Hong on the jump.
Carolla hosts the most downloaded podcast of all time, which, technically, means since the early 2000s or so. Still, Carolla, best known for his TV (“The Man Show,” Crank Yankers”) and radio (“Loveline”) work, is podcast royalty. His show was downloaded 60 million times between ’09 and ’11.
Carolla will be taping an episode of his podcast live at the Tower Theatre, Dec. 8 and we have tickets to put a few lucky Beehivers in the audience. Enter to win by leaving a comment on this post. Tell us what is your favorite podcast and why. The contest ends 5 p.m. Friday. Winners will be chosen by random and notified via email. So check your email if you enter. One comment per person, please. Rules on the jump.
Some of you may remember back in August, Taylor announced he would be leaving for Fresno for New York City (where his wife got a new job). Well, he’ll be leaving (officially) at the end of October and his buddies in Blimprov are doing a Bon Voyage performance/party, 7 p.m. tonight at Frank’s Place. Tickets are $10.
I took my iPhone down to the Windsong offices, asked Taylor some questions about Fresno (and what it means to be leaving) and put together this video. In the final tally, Taylor understands a simple truth: We are all replaceable. That said, those who knew (or worked with) him know he will be missed. Video on the jump.
There’s another set of show announcements coming through this morning.
UPDATE: And now we have confirmation from the Save Mart Center that tickets for Bon Jovi’s Oct. 8 show will go on sale at 10 a.m. next Monday (June 10). Tickets will start at $19.50 and be available at select Save Mart Supermarkets, online at
www.ticketmaster.com, on the phone at (800) 745-3000 or at the Save Mart
Center Box Office.
FYI: If you are an American Express card member, you’ll have access to advanced tickets starting 10 a.m. Wednesday (June 5). The offer runs through Friday. Go to www.BonJovi.com for more details.
Original post (May 30):
It seems like I’ve been hearing rumor of this show for awhile, but ’80s hair-metal icon (and current mega-rock band) Bon Jovi is coming to the Save Mart Center. According to Pollstar, the band will be stopping in Fresno Oct 8. on the West Coast swing of its “Because We Can” tour. This should come as welcome news for fans. The last time Bon Jovi was in town was in 2006. The Save Mart Center has announced the show, but there’s no word on when tickets go on sale. We’ll keep you updated.
ABC launches “Family Tools” at 8:30 tonight (May 1) and while the comedy has all the laughs of a kitten’s funeral, it does star an actor who always makes projects better merely by being part of the cast. That would be J.K. Simmons.
Don’t be upset if the name doesn’t ring a bell. He’s played everything from a cop boss in “The Closer” to the cigar-chomping newspaper editor J. Jonah Jameson in the “Spider-Man” movies. Simmons is one of those actors who has done so many different TV and film roles, you know him once you see him even if you can’t remember his name.
Simmons might have been better known if he hadn’t been so determined not to appear in a TV commercial while spending all those years as a struggling actor in New York. Theater is great but one well-placed commercial can be seen by as many people as see an entire year’s run of a play.
If you haven’t seen Blimprov, you should. And you probably should do it tonight.
The improv comedy troupe — who you might remember from its sold-out run at this year’s Rogue Festival — is doing one of its biggest local shows to date at Fulton 55.
Why go tonight? Well, two Blimprov members are planning to move to L.A. soon, to give the fame thing a chance. So this might be their last Blimprov show. The departing Blimprovers are the ever-charming Marcos Hammer and the hilarious Magnus Chhan, who — apologies to the rest of Blimprov — has a knack for stealing the show.
If you miss this and everybody is talking tomorrow about how great it was, don’t say we didn’t warn you.
1. LIGHT YOUR FUSE FOR LOCAL MUSIC Were this feature called “One Thing You Should Do This Weekend,” this would be it. Fuse Fest, or Fresno Urban Sound Experience, is our annual all-local music festival that acts as an all-you-can-eat buffet of local music of various genres. It’s tonight and Saturday, with a total of 40 acts playing on 10 stages, all in downtown Fresno. Tickets can be purchased for $15 per night or $20 for both, good for maximum stage hopping. For more about the festival, read this story from today’s Bee about its evolution, check out the band lineup/schedule, listen to my podcast, or Famous’ podcast, check out The Fresnan or hit up the Facebook page. If there were one weekend to get out and support the Fresno music scene, this is it. [More]
CATACOMB PARTY: Indie rockers Fierce Creatures have their big Catacomb Party album release concert on Saturday. It’s a free, all-ages event with nine other bands joining Fierce Creatures outdoors on the Fulton Mall. It’s the local music event of the week, for sure.
CAN I GET AN ENCORE? Looks like Encore Nightclub is having a big “grand opening” weekend — it’s been open, but ya know how these things go. It’s fully operational as an 18+ place, which is worth a note. This is, if you’re wondering, the most re-named club in Fresno. It’s the former On the Rocks, Bliss, Bisla’s, XO and most recently NVS.
Shaq’s All-Star Comedy Jam — a comedy tour organized by former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal — is coming to Fresno’s Saroyan Theatre on May 25. Specific comedians haven’t yet been announced, but tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, costing $39.75-$63.75.
“Breaking In,” 9:30 p.m. KMPH (Channel 26.1): If you haven’t taken a look at the comedy since it returned to the FOX lineup, consider yourself among the lucky. The addition of Megan Mullally to the cast has turned this once fun and quirky series about a security company into a miserable and bland workplace comedy. Her character was added to be the new boss for the company making it the worst hire since Bernie Madoff.
In the first season, humor came out of smart situations involving the company’s mysterious boss (Christian Slater) and his oddball group of specialists. It was fun to watch them work together. This year, Mullally’s banshee-like acting skills have landed on the show like a gift from a bird passing overhead. Smart humor has been replaced by Mullally recycling her old “Will & Grace” work.
Gone are the fun missions. Now, the group just stands around the office and waits for Mullally to say something stupid. The wait isn’t that long.
“Breaking In” started out as a very good comedy. Now, there aren’t enough jokes to justify calling it a comedy. About the only thing good that can be said about the show is that with the changes, “Parks and Recreation” is no longer the worst workplace comedy on network TV.
OK, I’ll admit it. I wasn’t ready for Blimprov. I remember seeing a improv comedy group when I was in college, because it was performing free in the dorms. It was OK, but nothing that made me a fan of improv. I saw another improv group here in Fresno many years back. Same story.
So when I walked into Saturday night’s sold-out Blimprov show at Tower Lounge, I was prepared for more mediocrity. Instead, I got the best show I’ve seen so far at this year’s Rogue Festival.
Blimprov is made up of three young actor/comedians — Magnus Chhan, Nick Haas and Marcos Hammer — who made me laugh more than I have in the past year. Their comedy is smart, somewhat ridiculous and insanely quick-witted. It helps that they’re not just jokers, but actors who really bring to life the various scenarios they’ve created for themselves.
No two Blimprov shows will be the same, so I can’t really tell you much about the material. The guys ask for one suggestion from the audience to get started — then they don’t stop for the next hour. Nor does the laughter.
SHOW INFO: 5:30 p.m. today (3/4), 7 p.m. Wednesday (3/7) and 8:30 p.m. Saturday (3/10) at Tower Lounge, 1211 N. Wishon Ave.. Tickets: $5. Rating: PG-13.
I hope that when I reach age 78 that I’m half as feisty and fun as Lynn Ruth Miller, the star of the one-woman comedy/singing show “Approaching 80.”
Through a series of stories and songs, Miller takes the audience on a journey through the trials and tribulations of aging. These aren’t the stories of your typical grandmother, Miller zings one-liners about dating, dentures and sex for the elderly. She’s sweet and funny, and just sassy enough to keep the audience entertained.
The 45-minute show is charming. It’s not raunchy, but it does have a few surprises — one that will have you laughing out loud and almost falling off your seat. Miller has a way of making you feel a part of the show, strolling and dancing through the rows of chairs, singing to people and giving a kiss or a pat here and there. It’s hard not to like her.
If you’re looking for a sweet, funny show that’s got a little bit of sass, but isn’t too over the top, you might want to give Lynn Ruth Miller’s brand on humor a try. Heck, if we could all be this much fun at 78, we’d have many more good things to say about aging.
SHOW INFO: 7:30 p.m., Sunday, March 4, Spectrum Gallery, 608 E. Olive Ave. Tickets: $4. Rating: ?.
1. BUY INTO THE BAZAAR
Saturday’s Fresno Handmade Bazaar at Fulton 55 is a good chance to connect with Fresno’s indie craft scene — and considering the popularity Etsy and Pinterest these days, it’s right on time. There are about 30 vendors, some DJs and speciality cocktails. So it goes without saying, this ain’t your grandma’s craft fair. Read the story behind the bazaar and how it’s an idea five years in the making. [Tickets]
Wanna go? We’ve got a pair of a tickets for one lucky reader. If you’re looking to buy ‘em, they cost $39.50, $55.50 and $82.50 via Ticketmaster. To enter our contest, all it takes is a comment on this post. Tell us your favorite thing about Fridays and you’re in the drawing.
Deadline to enter is 5 p.m. Thursday. Our winner will be chosen at random and notified via e-mail. So please leave a real address and please check it. Complete rules below.