I’m fresh off the plane from sunny Mumbai, India.  It was a quick visit, but enough to change my perspective on a city most Americans have only experienced from the movie “Slumdog Millionaire.”

So, to give you another perspective, here are the answers to the most common questions I’ve gotten about my trip:

1.  Why did you go to INDIA?!

Eric Schwartz, Raj Sharma, Vir Das, Tehran Von Ghasri and Jeremy Craven at the Vishanya Amphitheatre in Pune, India, Jan. 23, 2015.

Me, Raj Sharma, Vir Das, Tehran Von Ghasri and Jeremy Craven at the Ishanya Amphitheatre in Pune, India, Jan. 23, 2015.

I visited for the Weirdass Pajama Comedy Festival, presented by popular Bollywood actor and comedian, Vir Das. My friend, American comedian Raj Sharma, referred me to the festival.  Raj, myself and fellow Americans Jeremy Crave, Tehran Von Ghasri went from Hollywood to Bollywood, to perform on the the “American Invasion” show.

2.  Do they speak English?

Yes!  Last time I checked, India used to be owned by the British, who totally speak American.  It’s also one of the most tech-savvy nations in the world, so they have mad wifi reception, which imports most references on American pop culture.

Eric Schwartz India McDonalds

You can’t escape America, even in India.

3.  What did you eat? … Read More

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By Eric Schwartz

MOSCOW – After dismantling of the Steve Jobs monument in St. Petersburg in response to current Apple CEO Tim Cook coming out as gay, Russian officials announced Wednesday they will expand their anti-gay policy.

Aleksi Chernobyl, chief of Russia’s Gey Politsii (Gay Police), promised a nationwide cleanup of “erected structures defiled by gayness.”

Chief of Russia's Gey Politsii Aleksi Chernobyl searches a bus rider for gayness.

Chief of Russia’s Gey Politsii Aleksi Chernobyl searches a bus rider for gayness.

 

Public outcry was ignored as Chernobyl divulged plans to destroy the Kremlin after records revealed a homosexual hammersmith had worked extensively on the foyer in 1485.

The Trans-Siberian Railroad, Red Square and St. Catherine’s Cathedral will meet similar fates due to 100-percent probability a gay person had made contact at some point.

“Don’t even get me started on the Hermitage,” Chernobyl chuckled about the famed, now doomed, museum.  “Do you realize how many artists are gay?”

Lake Baikal, the world’s oldest and deepest lake, will be drained just in case a homosexual had ever frolicked in its waters.  Once refilled, it will be renamed “Lake Straight-kal,” to erase any inference to acquatic bisexuality.

In a selfless act of solidarity, President Vladimir Putin has agreed to chop off his own arms, realizing they are tainted from shaking President Obama’s hand after the US President met with gays–most notably, Cook himself.  Putin then recognized removing the second arm would be impossible since he’d only have one arm at that point.  Fortunately, he accepted Chernobyl’s offer to help in severing the other limb.  But, “no homo.”

Even Russian meteorologists are bracing for the next rainstorm, where Chernobyl says rainbows will be outlawed in a “symbolic attempt to stop the natural beauty of love.”

Apple Senior PR Manager Jonathan Miller says he is “surprised by Russia’s archaic ideas” and fully supports Cook on his decision to make his sexuality public.  He invites Russians to open their minds to the company’s slogan:

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One of my most popular bits is my mocking of T-Pain.

But for those of you who think T-Pain is an untalented hack who relies on AutoTune, YOU’RE WRONG!  His performance on NPR’s “Tiny Desk Concerts” proves it.

I hate to say “I told you so,” but I’ve always looked up to T-Pain.  Obviously, my piece is rooted in my fantasy of being him.  That’s why it always sounded off key to me when people criticized him to my face. They had obviously never used AutoTune.  In order to parody him, I had to learn how to use it and can tell you that you have to be able to sing to make it sound good!

Yes, some people use AutoTune and other pitch-correcting software to fix bad singing.  But their goal is to be undetectable.  The difference is, T-Pain wants you to hear it.  His use is creative, turning his voice into a new instrument.

Even if you still think any use AutoTune is blasphemy, you must admit T-Pain has real musical talent.  I realized that trying to mimic the harmonies on “Buy You a Drank.”

Listen to my version:
“Why Do Ya Stank?” (2009) (Track 25)
Buy on iTunes.

T-Pain is one of today’s most underrated musicians.  He isn’t “cheating” any more than someone using vocal effects like reverb, chorus or delay.  Using effects doesn’t necessarily change the characteristics of a singer’s voice.  They make vocals sound good in the overall mix of a song.  It’s kinda like using Instagram filters.  If the image is a piece of shit, there’s really not much Toaster can do.

I’m glad T-Pain has finally proven himself with this #NOFILTER performance.  He won over a bunch of new fans who would now admit the T stands for Talent.

Now, l’ll go back to fantasizing about earning as much money as him…

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I feel bad for Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton Mary Elizabeth Winstead and all the other stars whose privacy was violated in the recent celebrity nude photo leak.  Listen to my parody of Magic!’s “Rude” called “Nude” to hear what I think about the whole thing.   Download the song FREE here.

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After a week of multiple shows and tapings each night of the Santa Barbara LOL Comedy Festival, our big reward was watching Jim Jefferies at the Arlington Theater on State Street.  Q Magazine once called him “Britain’s most offensive stand-up comic” a title he proudly displayed on the cover of his DVD.

Jim arrived at the theater with his girlfriend Kate Luyben and 20-month-old son, Hank.  They ordered a vodka soda, pinot grigio and an apple juice.  I’m not sure who got what, but I’m just saying Hank had zero social anxiety.

Jim’s new special “Bare” released on Netflix just two days before this show, and most of the crowd had just pre-gamed it.  That meant all that material was off limits for Jim, who had no problem testing out a new 100 minutes of never-recorded material.  It was truly an amazing set, as Jim has a stunning ability to make you laugh at things you’ve been told you should laugh at.

Then, somewhere between C-word-laden tirades on his morbidly obese mom and tales of his penis cancer, Jim heard his son yell “Daddy!” In a few moments, the mood went from caustic to cute as young Hank hopped across the stage to join his dad at work.  It was more adorable than Jim’s description of his bandaged penis.

After this hilarious emotional roller coaster, I got the chance to interview the Jim (clip coming soon).

Jim Jefferies and Eric Schwartz

As you can see, he absolutely loved me.

jim jefferies kiss eric schwartz

As many remember, Jim launched into the international spotlight after an angry patron attacked him on stage at the Comedy Store in Manchester, England.  It’s nice to see a guy who pays it forward. I’m just grateful it was with his lips rather than his fists.
jim and eric
It was a perfectly odd ending to a celebration of things that don’t always match.  But one thing’s for sure: The Santa Barbara LOL Comedy Festival was a perfect fit for this town.  We received so much love and appreciation from this town.  I think we created a lot of good memories for the community and ourselves.  It was a massive undertaking that could only have been pulled off by a lot of talented, hard-working people.  My only regret is not interviewing them to expose their greatness.

Luckily, festival mastermind Scott Montoya of LOLflix is already planning for next year, which will be even bigger and better!

Eric Schwartz at Santa Barbara LOL Comedy Festival

Watch my comedy special, Surrender to the Blender on LOLflix.

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Saturday was the busiest night of The Santa Barbara LOL Comedy Festival and I was beginning to feel a lack of sleep from shooting all day and night.

nadine

 

Luckily, I was recharged by my red-carpet co-host Nadine Rajabi.  She embodies the same qualities I value in myself:  Pretty, funny and gangsta.

The first special taped tonight was “Kirk Fox, That Guy.” I’d been an acquaintance of Kirk before the festival, but we’ve really become fast friends over the past few days.  He’s a laid-back guy you’d want to hang out with to hear his naturally funny perspective on life.  His special, “That Guy” paints him as “that guy” you might see staring at your girlfriend in the bar.  Or following you in your rearview mirror. Or listening to a police scanner for fun.  An acute observer, Kirk will easily win over a sizeable fanbase once this special drops.

 

You may know Ben Gleib from his countless appearances on Chelsea Lately, his new GSN show, Idiotest or as the voice of Marshall the Sloth from Ice Age – Continental Drift.   But after shooting his first hour special, you will know him for his instant likeability, reflection on pop culture and love of delicious drinks.  Not only did he deliver a hilarious hour addressing every group on the map from Asians to vegans, he wove in about 20 extra minutes of brilliant crowd work, showing he’s as good off the cuff as he is on the page.  I’ve had the pleasure of knowing him for years and he always creates a fun atmosphere wherever he goes.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t go to Ben’s afterparty because the fun was just beginning at the Lobero Theater.

Next, Andrew Dice Clay presented six shockingly funny comedians: Erik Myers, Steve Wilson, Michael “Wheels” Parisi, Eleanor Kerrigan, Jason Rouse, Cory and Chad (The Smash Brothers) and Colin Kane. “The Blue Show” had an “anything-goes” attitude.  And everything went.

First up was Erik Myers, a comedian I recommended to the festival.  He absolutely delivered, instantly winning the crowd over with his frenetic personality and voice two octaves higher than a normal human’s.  Other memorable moments included Colin Kane coaxing an innocent woman to touch his junk and Jason Rouse breaking the shock barrier.  This was a perfect environment for Jason, who could make Lucifer himself squirm from the graphic nature of his act.   Comedy twins The Smash Brothers told so many crotch stories, I called them Tweedledick and Tweedledong.  These guys are so fun to watch, it’s no wonder they are selling out clubs.

blue show

Nadine and I got to interview most everyone on the show, but I was bummed I didn’t get to interview Dice.  I really wanted to recount the story where he sat next to me at an outdoor eatery and asked if it would be OK if he smoked.  “You’re Dice,” I replied.  “I’d be offended if you didn’t.”

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