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Former U.S. President Barack Obama sent a letter, Stevie Wonder sang, and Snoop Dogg called slain rapper Nipsey Hussle a “peace advocate” at a Los Angeles memorial on Thursday attended by family members, friends and thousands of fans.
Reuters: People News
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Can anyone be funny? We spoke to comedian and writer Stevie Martin to get the low down on lols, imposter syndrome and her brand new solo show, Vol. 1…
How do you become a stand up comedian?
It feels like there are two main ways people become comedians: because it’s something they’ve always dreamed of, or by accident. I fall into the latter camp. When I was at university, my friend’s boyfriend was in the university sketch troupe (The Durham Revue) and they were auditioning. I said I didn’t want to do it. Then I got quite drunk, did the audition drunk, got in, had a lovely two years but couldn’t see it as a career path so became a journalist, then three years later realised I missed doing it so much that I started a sketch group on the side of my 9-5. Now I’m a comedian, but I never say I’m a comedian because I find it incredibly embarrassing. I say I’m a writer which is true, just not the WHOLE truth.
Can you force funny AKA can anyone be funny?
I think anyone can be funny, but being “funny” on stage is definitely an art form that’s completely different from being a great laugh in the pub. Audiences are ruthless and totally changeable – so much depends on the vibe in the room, rather than the actual material. In Edinburgh last year, I performed Vol. 1 every night for a month and every single night the room would respond differently to different bits. If I mess up a joke during a short ten-minute set at a mixed bill gig (with lots of different comedians), it takes a long time to gain an audience’s confidence back and make them laugh again. If I come out really strong, I can stutter over a bunch of lines later on and it won’t affect anything because I’ve already got their confidence. I find that stuff really interesting and, when you get it right, it’s definitely the most exhilarating thing I’ve ever done. And I once held my breath for a minute in exchange for ten pogs (I nearly fainted, I was eight, it was exhilarating).
Where do your ideas come from?
I always felt like an imposter because in my head I should be sat 9-5 writing, like when on a deadline for an article. Thing is, I can go ages without having any good ideas at all, and then in one night write half an hour of material that works, without any idea where it’s come from. I don’t know about anyone else’s brain, but my brain works in bursts – I just have to arrange my life so that I’m able to catch the bursts when they come out. That sounds gross….
The thing that gives me the most inspiration for ideas is watching other shows, not just comedy but plays, musicals, any sort of performance. For some reason, seeing someone doing something on a stage just unlocks ideas, and those ideas are never anything to do with what I’ve just seen. I think everyone has their own way, and every way is much more annoying and difficult than you presume it will be. It’s very rare that I’ll suddenly think of a fully formed joke or sketch, I usually brainstorm until something pops up that makes me think “Oooh that would be fun to do” and then it either is, or I perform it to silence in which case, into the “Let’s never think about that again” box it goes.
How would you sum up your first solo show, Vol. 1?
The idea is that it’s an hour of beginnings for all types of shows. From horror plays to stand-up, to the first few minutes of a séance. Nothing outstays it’s welcome and it’s basically all jokes and me throwing myself around for the audience’s entertainment.
Why should we come and see it?
Because it’s pure escapism, I won’t be mentioning Brexit or Donald Trump, and because of the sheer volume and variety of jokes I’m genuinely convinced that everyone will laugh AT LEAST twice. MINIMUM.
What advice would you give an aspiring comedian?
Book a gig, or put on a night with a few mates in a comedy-friendly room above a pub and just do it. The first time you do it, if you’re anything like me, you will try to cancel four times and your friend who runs the gig will refuse to allow you to cancel and then you’ll go to the toilet 700 times and not be able to eat anything all day. Then you’ll do it and feel like someone just injected the sun into your heart because, even if nobody laughs, YOU DID IT. And the next time will slightly (very slightly) better, and then the next time and the next time until you’re a year in and you only go to the toilet 452 times.
How do you start a comedy group?
There are lots of groups on Facebook, but I feel like if you want to start a comedy group, you need to have a relationship with the people you’re working with. I was in a group with two people I knew very well and it was still incredibly difficult at times. A lot of shouting and a lot of tension.
The best bet is to do a comedy course, or some sort of class, so you get to meet other people and, crucially, see if they have the same sense of humour as you do. There’s a really great improvised comedy course in Hackney called the Free Association which spawns a lot of sketch groups and is full of creative people who don’t necessarily want to devote their entire lives to improv, but certainly want to create fun stuff. The Soho Theatre run great comedy courses too.
Is it hard going solo after being part of a sketch group?
In some ways yes, but in some ways no. It took longer for me to comfortable being on stage by myself than it did with two other people, and if I balls up there’s nobody to bail me out (I’m very bad at learning lines I’ve written. Other people’s lines are fine. Mine are not). But on the other hand, when I was in a group, every idea had to be vetted by two separate people before it went in. Now it’s just me. Sure, that means that new material nights (where comedians test out material they’ve never said aloud to another human before) are a lot scarier, but it means that the finished show feels so much more satisfying because it all came from you. You’re not quietly thinking “Well that would have been funnier if we’d gone for my excellent banjo joke there”.
How did Massive Dad come about?
Liz and I were both in the Durham Revue, both tried to get normal jobs and then both missed comedy and couldn’t stop talking about how we’d love to do it. Tessa was in the year below us at university, and in the Durham Revue the year after we left, so we knew of her and thought she was very funny so approached her tentatively. Before long, we were rehearsing and writing in my office after I’d clocked off for the day and doing little gigs in pubs around London. I wouldn’t have been able to do my first ever gig alone, it was hard enough doing it alone after two years of doing it with other people! I would have melted into a small puddle.
What three women would you urge everyone to follow right now?
I love Beth McColl, she’s a writer who tweets at @imteddybliss and always makes me laugh, @meganamram co-wrote The Good Place and is really really funny (obviously) and also Lou Sanders @LouSanders who is one of my favourite comedians and tweets loads of really silly one liners.
Who’s the funniest person you know?
My sister, Gina, makes me laugh in a way that could never be explained or translated to other people. Same with my boyfriend. And all of my close friends. I feel like life is too short not to surround yourself with people that make you need to go to the toilet because you’re laughing so hard about nothing.
Stevie Martin’s debut show Vol.1 runs at London’s Soho Theatre from 17th-20th April. Get tickets here.
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(NEW YORK) — Stevie Nicks, who became the first woman inducted twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Janet Jackson, the latest member of the Jackson clan to enter the hall, called for other women to join them in music immortality on a night they were honored with five all-male British bands.
Jackson issued her challenge just before leaving the stage of Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” she said, “in 2020, induct more women.”
Neither Jackson or Nicks were around at the end of the evening when another Brit, Ian Hunter, led an all-star jam at the end to “All the Young Dudes.” The Bangles’ Susanna Hoffs was the only woman onstage.
During the five-hour ceremony, Bryan Ferry of Roxy Music thanked multiple bass players and album cover designers, the Cure’s Robert Smith proudly wore his mascara and red lipstick a month shy of his 60th birthday and two of Radiohead’s five members showed up for trophies.
During Def Leppard’s induction, Rick Allen was moved to tears by the audience’s standing ovation when singer Joe Elliott recalled the drummer’s perseverance following a 1985 accident that cost him an arm.
Jackson followed her brothers Michael and the Jackson 5 as inductees. She said she wanted to go to college and become a lawyer growing up, but her late father Joe had other ideas for her.
“As the youngest in my family, I was determined to make it on my own,” she said. “I was determined to stand on my own two feet. But never in a million years did I expect to follow in their footsteps.”
She encouraged Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, producers of her breakthrough “Control” album and most of her vast catalog, to stand in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center for recognition, as well as booster Questlove. She thanked Dick Clark of “American Bandstand” and Don Cornelius of “Soul Train,” along with her choreographers including Paula Abdul.
There was some potential for awkward vibes Friday, since the event was being filmed to air on HBO on April 27. HBO angered the Jackson family this winter for showing the documentary “Leaving Neverland,” about two men who alleged Michael Jackson abused them when they were boys. Jackson never mentioned Michael specifically in her remarks but thanked her brothers, and he was shown on screen with the rest of the family.
Jackson was inducted by an enthusiastic Janelle Monae, whose black hat and black leather recalled some of her hero’s past stage looks. She said Jackson had been her phone’s screen-saver for years as a reminder to be focused and fearless in how she approached art.
Nicks was the night’s first induction. She is already a member of the hall as a member of Fleetwood Mac, but only the first woman to join 22 men — including all four Beatles members — to have been honored twice by the rock hall for the different stages of their career.
Nicks offered women a blueprint for success, telling them her trepidation in first recording a solo album while a member of Fleetwood Mac and encouraging others to match her feat.
“I know there is somebody out there who will be able to do it,” she said, promising to talk often of how she built her solo career. “What I am doing is opening up the door for other women.”
During her four-song set, she brought onstage a cape she bought in 1983 to prove to her “very frugal” late mother that it was still in good shape, and worth its $ 3,000 price tag. Don Henley joined her to sing “Leather and Lace,” while Harry Styles filled in for the late Tom Petty on “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around.”
David Byrne inducted Radiohead, noting he was flattered the band named itself after one of his songs. He said their album “Kid A” was the one that really hooked him, and he was impressed Radiohead could be experimental in both their music and how they conduct business.
“They’re creative and smart in both areas, which was kind of a rare combination for artists, not just now but anytime,” he said.
With only drummer Philip Selway and guitarist Ed O’Brien on hand, Radiohead didn’t perform; there was a question of whether any of them would show up given the group’s past ambivalence about the hall. But both men spoke highly of the honor.
“This is such a beautifully surreal evening for us,” said O’Brien. “It’s a big (expletive) deal and it feels like it. … I wish the others could be here because they would be feeling it.”
The Cure’s Smith has been a constant in a band of shifting personnel, and he stood onstage for induction Friday with 11 past and current members. Despite their goth look, the Cure has a legacy of pop hits, and performed three of them at Barclays, “I Will Always Love You,” ”Just Like Heaven” and “Boys Don’t Cry.”
Visibly nervous, Smith called his induction a “very nice surprise” and shyly acknowledged the crowd’s cheers.
“It’s been a fantastic thing, it really has,” he said. “We love you, too.”
His inductee, Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, recalled ridiculing the rock hall in past years because he couldn’t believe the Cure wasn’t in. When he got the call that the band was in, he said “I was never so happy eating my words as I was that day.”
Def Leppard sold tons of records, back when musicians used to do that, with a heavy metal sound sheened to pop perfection on songs like “Photograph” and “Pour Some Sugar on Me.” They performed them in a set that climaxed the annual ceremony.
Singer Joe Elliott stressed the band’s working-class roots, thanking his parents and recalling how his father gave them 150 pounds to make their first recording in 1978.
Besides Allen’s accident, the band survived the 1991 death of guitarist Steve Clark. Elliott said there always seemed to be a looming sense of tragedy around the corner for the band, but “we wouldn’t let it in.”
“If alcoholism, car crashes and cancer couldn’t kill us, the ’90s had no (expletive) chance,” said Elliott, referring to his band mates as the closest thing to brothers that an only child could have.
Roxy Music, led by the stylish Ferry, performed a five-song set that included hits “Love is the Drug,” ”More Than This” and “Avalon.” (Brian Eno didn’t show for the event).
Simon LeBon and John Taylor of Duran Duran inducted them, with Taylor saying that hearing Roxy Music in concert at age 14 showed him what he wanted to do with his life.
“Without Roxy Music, there really would be no Duran Duran,” he said.
The soft-spoken Ferry thanked everyone from a succession of bass players to album cover designers. “We’d like to thank everyone for this unexpected honor,” he said.
The Zombies, from rock ‘n’ roll’s original British invasion, were the veterans of the night. They made it despite being passed over in the past, but were gracious in their thanks of the rock hall. They performed hits “Time of the Season,” ”Tell Her No” and “She’s Not There.”
Zombies lead singer Rod Argent noted that the group had been eligible for the hall for 30 years but the honor had eluded them.
“To have finally passed the winning post this time — fantastic!”
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The class also includes the Zombies, who have been nominated four times.
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Stevie Wonder’s son, Kailand Morris, posed for a fun photo shoot with girlfriend Maddie Ziegler. In the photos, taken by celebrity photographer Tyler Shields, the chemistry between the young couple is undeniable.
The 16-year-old Dance Moms star and 17-year-old Morris son posed for Shields, and are featured in whimsical shots of the two together and separate, The Blast reports.
The couple reportedly met this summer on the set of Dancing With The Stars: Juniors, and hit it off.
The two reportedly just having fun hanging out and aren’t yet taking things too seriously yet. Kailand posted a photo earlier this month of him and Ziegler with a few friends at Disneyland, and it appears they are really enjoying each other’s company.
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Sometimes, we are real easy to please.
Give us a scene with Stevie Nicks singing to a bunch of witches and follow it up with a glimpse of the Murder House and we’re just clapping and…
E! Online (US) – TV News
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