Comedians Getting Their Break Through Comedy Competitions

People pursuing a career in comedy have a long and arduous road in front of them before they hit the big bucks, but comedy competitions often provide the much needed exposure they need to take their careers to the next level. Whether it’s stand-up, screenplays, or short film, comedy is often the hardest pursuit in entertainment because comedy unlike many other genres of entertainment is subjective. Luckily for the struggling artists out there, more and more companies — like Doritos, TurboTax, Nabisco — are putting their advertising dollars out there for comedic-user-generated ad competitions.

TurboTax recently had a contest on YouTube that asked for people to do comedic material on taxes. Hundreds of comics came up with their best tax jokes and posted them to the TurboTax YouTube page.

Stand-up comic John Ramsey won that competition, claiming the prize of $10,000 and opening for Jay Mohr at the Improv Comedy Club.

TV has long been the holy grail for stand-up comics but the opportunities are getting fewer with the recent cancellation of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing”. TV still offers chances to aspiring comics through TV One’s ‘Who’s Got Jokes”, which is hosted Bill Bellamy, and also NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” but they will be competing against many other performing artists such as dancers, singers, and chainsaw jugglers. TV competitions are few and far between but offer their contestants a platform which offers exposure like no other.

For the comedic writers out there, the LA Comedy Shorts Festival is a great opportunity to compete in many competitions like comedic short films and screenplays. With big names attached to the event like Adam Corolla, Will Ferrall, and Jud Apatow, winners of these competitions have the opportunity to live the Hollywood dream. Other screenwriting competitions are out there like the one put on by The ScreenWriting Expo, but no other puts so much focus on comedic talent.

7 Cool Facts About Popular Cult Films You Might Not Know

Cult films are those movies that you hear people rave about, that you probably have never heard of. They are usually not the academy award winners. They can be horror films, comedies, box-office flops, independent films or odd genres that you would never normally seek out. Regardless of where they fall in the categories of films, they are definitely unique. And they generally fit the following seven bullet point list:

1. Cult films have quotable lines.

Most of these unique films are quotable. This just means that fans can spend hours spitting out different lines from the movies, and other fans will respond with another one-liner. Savvy movie theaters have picked up on this phenomenon and will host cult-film evenings just so that audience members can quote along with their favorite movie.

2. There are entire festivals devoted to some movies.

When a cinematic story develops a large following, there are sure to be some interesting festivals that follow. At such gatherings, you are sure to find those dressed in character, as well as other interesting attractions. Goody bags, multiple showings of the film, book studies and lectures are all elements you might find.

3. There is a hard-core following even though the movie has been rejected in the mainstream.

While not everyone agrees on what constitutes a cult film, a broad definition includes the concept that these films have been rejected by the mainstream at the time of release. They are generally not box office hits, and they do not win awards. Oftentimes, they contain counter-culture elements and in many countries, these films have been banned for one reason or another.

4. Sometimes, it is the director who is the reason for the following.

Cult films do not always gain their status based on their film qualities. Instead, it is the director who has become famous in the circle of the fans, and any movie he or she makes usually ends up in the canon of cult classics. Quentin Tarantino is a great example of this.

5. Intellectuals are always arguing about what makes a cult classic.

Another surprising fact includes the fact that there is no one definition of what allows a movie to gain the status of “cult classic.” Actually, there are great (and sometimes ugly) debates about whether one film qualifies. Many of these debates are taking place on college campuses across the country, with professors joining in the fray.

6. Holidays play a big role in establishing a film’s status.

For just about every holiday, mainstream or obscure, there are films that are shown around that time. Halloween is a large category that has many cult films being shown during this time of the year. Halloween also, for obvious reasons, presents itself as the perfect opportunity to dress as a cult character.

7. The 80s is the biggest decade, so far, for cult films.

About 70% of all cult films come from the decade that encompasses “the eighties.” These films are almost never serious, and almost always contain a futuristic element, like Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. It can be fun for modern audiences to view these oddities and laugh at the ideas the characters had of today’s world.

The Best Comedy of Summer 2013

The summer 2013 box office landscape was littered with comedies, some of which did better than others. Though the summer isn’t quite over, it is already becoming apparent that a few of these comedies stand out as better than the rest. Of course, determining the best of anything is subjective, but here are the best comedies of the season according to a several variables, including box office receipts and audience and critic receptions.

If total earnings is the best way to determine the best comedy, 2013’s best summer comedy is undeniably “Despicable Me 2.” The funny, family-friendly sequel to the original “Despicable Me” saw lead character Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) growing up and becoming a good father to his newly-adopted children, despite the occasional temptation to go back to his nefarious ways. It pulled in $83,517,315 on its opening weekend, which fell right before the July 4th holiday. It went on to earn a whopping $351,676,590 at the box office when all weeks were tallied. What’s even more amazing is that the film also earned an additional$455,100,000 in foreign countries, meaning that its total worldwide tally reached an astounding $806,776,590. The next highest-grossing comedy of the summer is “Monsters University,” which currently stands nearly $100 million behind “Despicable Me 2” despite the fact that it opened two weeks earlier. Clearly, audiences are in love with Gru and his adorable little minions.

Box office receipts don’t always tell the whole story, though. Audience reception is another way to determine the success of a film, and if that is the way to tell which film is the best comedy of the summer, then “The Heat” is a surefire winner. The film stars comedy superstar Melissa McCarthy as an unconventional Boston detective who reluctantly pairs up with an uptight federal agent played by Sandra Bullock. The film received a near-perfect A- CinemaScore rating. CinemaScore is a company that interviews moviegoers after they see a film to determine what their overall reaction is. It’s rare for a comedy to score an A-, because this means that the vast majority of audience members felt the film was really good. Since tastes vary greatly from person to person, this is a hard score to achieve. With this CinemaScore rating and $156,576,368 in domestic ticket sales, it is easy to make a case for “The Heat” being one of the best comedies of summer 2013.

When deciding what the best film in a genre is for any season, it is also important to note overall critical receptions. Critics help to increase or decrease buzz for many films, giving them the ability to make or break some films. Though it is not completely unanimous, many critics this summer seem to think that the best comedy is “The World’s End,” starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. The film is one of the final entries into the race because of its late August release. Despite this late entry, it has made quite a splash, with some critics hailing it as not only the best comedy of the summer, but perhaps the best summer film across all genres. That is saying a lot, considering the lofty competition from the likes of “Iron Man 3,” “Man of Steel,” and “Pacific Rim”.

The film is the third and final entry into what has been dubbed the “Cornetto Trilogy,” a reference to the Cornetto ice cream snacks that appear in each of the films. All three films also star Pegg and Frost and were co-written by Pegg and director Edgar Wright. In the newest film, Pegg and Frost are two old friends who have quarreled and become enemies who reunite to try and recreate an epic pub crawl that they began but didn’t finish twenty years earlier. Upon returning to their hometown they realize that it has been overrun by robots that have much bigger plans that could bring about the end of the world. In true Cornetto Trilogy form, the boys don’t stop having a good time just because the end of the world seems imminent. The good news is that the audience has just as good a time because the film is absolutely hilarious.

Since audiences have yet to see ” The World’s End,” its CinemaScore could end up putting it at the top of the audience reception heap for best comedy of the summer. Even if it doesn’t, the film is easily the critic’s choice for best film of the summer, and has an outside chance at becoming the box office champ as well.