Monday, December 27, 2010

Look what was under our tree.

What's that? Back to work? I thought we were off for the holidays? Well, it's still Boxing Day in some parts of Canada, I'd hate to disrespect our Canadian fans by not observing it with the grace and dignity it deserves.

Let's just wait out the more minute...there, okay, back to the daily grind it is.

Our editing team was particularly hard at work this Christmas Eve (and their work didn't involve breaking into the homes of vulnerable young children in the middle of the night, unlike a certain someone I could mention), because our latest episode posted just in time to increase your Christmas cheer.

You're getting it two days later though, because I was busy, ya know, spending time with family and making memories and honoring traditions and blah, blah, blah, let's just make with the funny already:

The Variety Society Episode 2 from Viral Media Network on Vimeo.

The official site for Tyler Macniven's film "Kintaro Walks Japan" can be found here. You can watch the whole thing for free on Google, or you can be totally awesome and buy the DVD. Because people who contribute money to Bay Area-based creative endeavors are indeed totally awesome (hint, hint).

You can also check out Tyler's SF Secrets while you're at it. Its got owls, pugs, Christmas trees, you name it. I'd give you all the details but, well, they're secret. It's part of the name, after all.

Since I assume you have unlimited free time to keep up on all Society-related media, don't neglect Natasha Muse's "A Funny Night for Comedy" either. I know what you're thinking: "What happens if my interest in the Variety Society wanes because I'm busy keeping up on Natasha's show?" It is, indeed, a conundrum, my friend.

The solution is to make sure that never, ever happens. Ever. There's room in your life for two Bay Area comedy shows. There's no reason that this has to come between us. Don't tear this family apart, I beg of you, just don't.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Happy Hannufestikwanzamas to you.

We're in the mood to celebrate these days. Actually, we're the sort of crowd who are in the mood to celebrate most days. You say it's the 400th anniversary of the invention of the hammock? Sounds like a good occasion for margaritas!

Even so, this being the holiday season and we having just finished a great show with another one right around the corner, we're particularly festive right now. By way of spreading the good cheer around (and let it never be said that we don't like to get around), here's a few photos from Saturday's shoot to tide you over until the editing is done:

Here, Dan is rendered temporarily powerless by his own punchline. In fact, he laughed so long we almost had to stop shooting to take him to the emergency room, which would have driven the rates on our laugh insurance through the roof.

Marcus knows if you've been naughty or nice this year. Because he designed a special algorithm that measures the average ratio of naughty to nice in your region over the last twenty years and then calculates the likelihood that you'll fall into one category or another to within three decimal places. The math doesn't lie folks, and more importantly, you can't lie to it.

There was a brief interruption in the taping when an audience member's beloved pet parakeet escaped and roosted in the rafters. Here we see our announcer Erik Braa and executive producer Sam Jack doing their best to lure the little fella back down.

Erik is either congratulating Dan on a job well done, or making his move to get Dan out of the picture and leave that sweet, sweet host's job ripe for the picking. Kind of hard to tell.

Judging from his shirt, we can guess that documentary filmmaker and reality TV star Tyler Macniven is firmly on the pirate side of the ninja/pirate debate.

This picture is not actually at an angle. The fact of the matter is that Natasha Muse was so fabulous that the planet had to briefly alter the tilt of its axis to compensate for her magnetism. I hear she was also behind that lunar eclipse last night.

Happy holidays from everyone at the Variety Society, and remember to please drink responsibly when you celebrate. Because that leaves more for us.

Monday, December 20, 2010

It's in the can!

Not that film is stored in actual cans very often these days. I'm not even sure if we're using that sort of camera? What do you say if it's digital? "It's in the hard drive!" or something to that effect? Doesn't really have the same ring to it.

Well, can or drive, that sucker is in, and once again thanks and congratulations are in order for everyone who was involved, especially our much expanded technical crew. As always, the relevant video will be available right here on the blog and over at in the coming week.

Things will be quiet here for the next week or so, as the pending Hannufestikwanzamas holiday festivities will be keeping us busy. But we'll be back in time to start work on our next show, which will be LIVE, JANUARY 15th!

Keep checking back right here for all the information on our first ever first show of 2011 / first ever third show / second ever first show after the first show. I have a feeling this is gonna be our year. Plus these last two months. Yeah, our year has 14 months. It's a tax thing, very complicated.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Three guests walk into a bar. Then, presumably, into our studio.

Did you know you have to book new guests for every show? Seriously, why don't they tell us this stuff in advance?

Not to worry Society fans, we're not about to be caught with our pants down. Because we invested in belts.

For our upcoming show, actor and reality TV star Tyler Macniven will be joining us. Here's a look at his documentary film "Kintaro Walks Japan", which is about that time in 2004 when he walked across Japan. Yes, walked. The whole way. Dude has got foot arches of steel!

In fact, Tyler's appearance on our show is all part of his newest project, "Kintaro Walks Onto Several Late Night Comedy Shows", which should be out sometime next year.

Comedian Natasha Muse will also put in an appearance, assuming that she passes the rigorous background screening that we conduct to ensure that she's not coming on purely to upstage us.

I'm told that Natasha hosts a show of her own, and she may in fact be here to induct Dan into the Mysterious Cryptic Order of Late Night Hosts. Which means he'll be paying double dues, because we're certainly not going to stop shaking him down for his monthly contributions to the Society.

Also joining us will be musical guest Steven Laciak. Will he be able to top PianoFight's bravara performance on our last show? Only time will tell, but be sure to give him a listen.

By now you're all no doubt brimming with excitement, but please, everyone, for liability purposes, try to delay the celebratory rioting until after the show, which of course will be taking place:


All the cool kids will be there. And you want people to think you're a cool kid too, don't you?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Bien Venue.

All of a sudden we're just two weeks away from our next show! How could this be? Just a week ago it was three weeks! Why weren't we warned that time would pass at a constant rate?

With just a fortnight left before curtain time, we thought we'd provide a friendly reminder that our second episode will be taped live at the Boxcar Theatre, 125A Hyde Street. Which is actually all of three blocks from where we did the first one, so anyone who showed up to the first show (you're awesome, by the by) is in little danger of getting lost. Conversely, anyone who got lost the first time and ended up three hundred yards or so down Natoma street will this time know exactly where to go.

Why the Boxcar? Well, in their words:

"Boxcar Theatre is dedicated to supporting bold concepts and unique visions of emerging and established directors. Utilizing dynamic imagery, physical movement, and innovative storytelling, Boxcar strives to establish an environment in which audiences are engaged in a visceral sense and an intellectual capacity."

Um, wow. We're uh, we're mainly just about making with the funny here, guys. Not sure where we stand on the visceral sense and intellectual capacity stuff. I mean, we might have some of that, I'd have to check out back. We can definitely do physical movement though, things will physically move during the show, that's a guarantee.

But in all seriousness (take a picture, it won't last), it's a great venue that will allow us to do a lot more technically than we could last time, which will make for a more polished look closer to what we want for the series proper.

Once more for posterity, it'll be:

125A Hyde St, cross street Golden Gate!

Ooh, that was a good one. Felt it in my bones.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

And now it's time for: Out of Context Theater.

The first rule of the Variety Society is that the best ideas are born out of collaboration. It used to be the first rule was "You do not talk about the Variety Society," but that made it really hard to promote the show, so we changed it to the collaboration thing.

So sometimes we all just get together in a room and pool ideas. I like to call this a "Frantic Verbal Tilt-a-Whirl of Comedy and Shared Genius!" but everyone else prefers the term "production meeting", which I admit rolls off the tongue a little better.

If you had been a fly on the wall at today's meeting...well, someone would probably have swatted you with a newspaper, so I'm not sure why you'd want that. But before your unceremonious swatting, you would have overheard things like this:

"Silly string is fun until you light it on fire, then it becomes a death trap."

"He'll be wrestling Smokey the Bear as he comes on."

"He's about as chill as a German mathematician."

"That's a good question and it deserves an honest answer. Well, goodbye."

"You can't have the Crusher without California."
"That's where his powers come from, like Superman and the sun."

"Okay, it looks like we may have to put a hit out on someone."

"Dan looked like a magic act with just a floating head and hands."
"I hadn't factored in what would happen if I wore a black outfit in front of a black backdrop."

"Where are we going to get a bear suit?"
"This is San Francisco, you can't throw a rock without hitting one."

"I can only dancefight."

"Wait, was this sewn on? When I ripped it I thought it was just velcro."


I realize that I've made it pretty much impossible to take anything I say in this space seriously, but let me assure you that all of the above are genuine quotes uttered by real people less than twelve hours ago. Yeah, see, this is why I refer to the Variety Society as "my good job."