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Exclusive Portraits: Brad Garrett of ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’

CHICAGO – The six foot, eight inch Brad Garrett is used to towering over the competition, but it is his comedic chops that got him the part of Robert Barone in the popular sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond.” Garrett was at Hollywood Palms Cinema, on behalf of Anderson’s Bookshop, both in Naperville, Ill., to promote his new book, “When the Balls Drop.”

Entertainment News: Comic Legend Joan Rivers Dies at 81

NEW YORK CITY – There are legends, and then there is Joan Rivers. The comedian and show business survivor had a life journey as an influential star from the 1960s all the way to the end of her life. Joan Rivers died on September 4th, 2014, in New York City after suffering respiratory failure last weekend.

DVD Review: ‘The Incredible Mel Brooks’ Offers Timeless Comedy

The Incredible Mel Brooks

CHICAGO – Mel Brooks is an indisputable genius and his comic mastery gets a perfect tribute in the 5-DVD-and-1-CD set from Shout Factory, “The Incredible Mel Brooks,” a treasure trove of rare clips, old TV shows, appearances, and recollections from one of comedy’s greatest writers. This is a fantastic set, a perfect gift for the comedy fan in your family.

Film News: Pioneering Comic Icon Phyllis Diller Dies at 95

Phyllis Diller

LOS ANGELES – Phyllis Diller emerged as a comic force during the era of the beatniks and talk show hosts who smoked cigarettes on camera. Beginning her career as a pioneer female stand-up act at 37 years old, she went on to establish a memorable character and show business longevity, working virtually all the way to the end. Diller’s passing was announced yesterday by her manager. She was 95.

Interview: Deon Cole Hosts ‘Conan’ Writers at Just for Laughs Chicago

Deon Cole, Just for Laughs

CHICAGO – While the “Conan” show spends a week in Chicago during the TBS “Just for Laughs” comedy festival, some of his writing staff are showcasing their talents around town in a couple venues. Comedian and “Conan” writer Deon Cole hosts and performs at these events.

Film Review: Obsessive, Intriguing ‘Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop’

CHICAGO – It’s the movie poster that says it all. The familiar red-headed talk show host, now bearded, resting his head against an ever-present microphone. The show must go on for “Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop.”

DVD Review: ‘Andy Barker, P.I.’ Deserved More Time to Grow

Andy Barker, P.I.

CHICAGO – Created by Conan O’Brien and Jonathan Groff, NBC’s “Andy Barker, P.I.” was barely given even the slightest chance to develop a following when it debuted a few years ago. Andy Richter had the worst luck as a sitcom lead, failing to find an audience for the brilliant-but-canceled “Andy Richter Controls the Universe” and then getting the axe again after only six episodes of the promising “Andy Barker, P.I.”. No wonder he returned to the loving embrace of Conan O’Brien when he went to “The Tonight Show”.

George Carlin Dies at 71 of Heart Failure; Comedian a Voice For Counter-Culture

CHICAGO – “Death is caused by swallowing small amounts of saliva over a long period of time,” comedian George Carlin once said. The iconic and award-winning figure died of heart failure on Sunday at the age of 71.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Bobby Pin Girls

    CHICAGO – The “breeder years” are difficult on everyone, as the biological imperative becomes overwhelming and the couplings that result yield both discovery and misadventure. Nothing Without a Company’s new play “Bobby Pin Girls” highlight two such Millennial women, roommates who are having man trouble, although the argument can be made that it’s eternally “boy trouble.” The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Chicago Mosaic School through December 3rd, 2017. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Transformers 5 front

    CHICAGO – Knock me over with a feather kids, but I enjoyed “Transformers: The Last Knight.” Maybe it was in comparison to the others or maybe director Michael Bay has beaten me into submission, but this one had the right story elements and casting to make it work, with exceptions of course. It’s goofiness is its charm, and it was released on Blu-Ray/DVD on September 26th, 2017 (Digital HD already available).

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