Let's just focus on schmoozing, for the purposes of this post.
This 1998 article in Business week http://www.businessweek.com/stories/1998-11-08/jules-kroll-danger-is-his-business gives discusses how Jules Kroll is an avid "Shmoozer."
He recruited a savvy coterie of former CIA spies, FBI agents, and prosecutors by paying them as much as twice their public-sector salaries.
Like Father like son, but in a much less serious avocation- comedy.
Nick Kroll actually told his self professed "Best friend," Tig Notaro that "being nice is smart." I was sure he'd say it's smart cause why be mean or rude... Being mean or rude is useless and stupid.."
But, no... Nick Kroll, continued.... " If I'm nice to airport workers, they'll do something for me in a month."
Give it a listen, if you don't believe me. http://professorblastoff.com/6imte3az291jl3qjpuxllr3rbvkw49/2011/07/episode-10-fate-with-nick-kroll Also, please note how "Tig" Notaro tells him, " Oh you and that checkbook of yours, Nick." After he confessed he's not "upper middle class" as he'd claimed but "in the one percent."
(I can see that checkbook being used against me, and it really grosses me out and angers me to a degree that is hard to handle. It should anger all those who take exception to some very rich and rotten bastard like Nick Kroll- fixing cases and taking many steps to railroad innocent people into jail because he could.)
Now, maybe I'm the exception and not the rule but.... I have never been nice to any airport worker with quid pro quos in mind. He must travel an awful lot to justify that kind of manipulative consideration. Even such an open admission shows that he somehow assumes that all of us are nice with payback in mind. It's just not the case, Nick. The idea that your every nice gesture must be met with something in return is honest, but it's also honestly scary. Nick goes on to discuss how "it pays to be nice to comedians, so I'm nice. This way they put you on their podcasts so you can promote your work."
Anyway, that was all just written to provide context to the "reputable press" device that Jules, Jeremy, and Nick Kroll are so reliant on as a means to lend their incredible lack of credibility- credibility. If you can get "reputable" press to solidify your position, well what else is there for the detractor -- who has no access to such press...
Here's just one wild example-- where Nick Kroll has set up press for himself and Tig Notaro.
Any layman would regard "The Washington Post," as real reputable. When Rudi Greenberg submits this http://www.washingtonpost.com/express/wp/2013/10/10/back-on-the-bentzen-ball/on October 10th 2013, to the public, why would anyone doubt the veracity of what she'd present? It's fluff stuff anyway- a guide to local entertainment. Can't get less grativas-y.
Surely, Rudi Greenberg has no ulterior motives when she promotes Nick Kroll and Notaro and this Bentzen Ball ? No one would know about the twitter posts where local comics were complaining. I sure didn't. And, had anyone known they would still figure that Rudi Greenberg wouldn't steer them wrong cause she must be super reputable to be writing for the Washington Post.
At 12.38 A.M she puts this out. I see it as a means to neutralize any bad press that Nick Kroll foresees, as a backlash against their mistreatment of local comedians, but you be the judge, of course.
Saturday at 5 p.m., aggressive Los Angeles-based comic Brody Stevens is hosting a happy-hour comedy show at The Howard Theatre starring local comics. (The show is free to anyone with a Bentzen Ball ticket stub, $5 otherwise.) One of the hallmarks of the festival is its focus on D.C. comedians, who are part of nearly every showIt’s good to expose the locals,” says Notaro, who handpicked the festival lineup. Here are a few w around town. of Bentzen’s funniest D.C.-area dwellers
End of story, right? Buy a ticket not only to see such fine comedians as Tig Notaro and Nick Kroll but you'll be supporting the local comedy scene. Cough up that ticket price. Randi Greenberg of the Washington Post give it the okay.
Very small story if you're not a local comic, anyhow, right? A non-story, really. Just a part of an entertainment guide
But, to me, it highlights how devious and deceptive is Nick Kroll's comedy career "business plan." It is a small, and even absurd, exemplification of what his father has done, on a grand and very serious scale. It also is relevant to how he or his paid trolls have responded to my highly viable allegations against him. He can't deny but he can deflect by pointing to lack of "reputable publications" covering it. So few could know that he has that kind of power to shut down stories and to plant stories. His other form of deflectory obfuscation(I think I made that up) is to point to court rulings that he knows were won due solely to fraud and due to his machinations. How few would take the time to figure that mess out?
Very very few.
But, it wasn't the end of that local comedians story, or non story....You see, the twitter complaints had happened nearly a month before, and savvy(and strangely insane) Nick Kroll stepped in and likely made it even more of a non issue with that Washington Post piece. But, was it true? Was the Bentzen Ball a boon for local comics or a bane? Any truth to this, " One of the hallmarks of the festival is its focus on D.C. comedians, who are part of nearly every show around town. “It’s good to expose the locals,” says Notaro, who handpicked the festival lineup.
A few hours after Randi Greenberg filed that, an Alexa Hauk, from the less "reputable"( or maybe less prestigious is more like it,)... Washington City Paper is released a piece.
Rejected From Bentzen Ball, Local Comics Book Their Own Comedy Show
Rejected From Bentzen Ball, Local Comics Book Their Own Comedy Show
Back after a four-year hiatus, Brightest Young Things' Bentzen Ball comedy festival is named after a Danish man named Ole Bentzen who laughed himself to death while watching A Fish Called Wanda. But when the event kicks off tonight at the Lincoln Theatre, featuring curator Tig Notaro along with Doug Benson, Wyatt Cenac, Heather Lawless, and others, not everyone will be as giddy as Mr. Bentzen. Some local comics are saying the festival left them out in the cold.
"Not to toot our own horn, but beep beep," says comic Randolph Terrance, sitting outside a bar on U Street NW about a week ago. "Beep beep.”
Terrance and fellow jokester Andy Kline are among the many local comics who were not booked to perform at the four-day festival this weekend, and some of them are a bit miffed about it. So they're doing their own event. Kline and Terrance have run a Saturday open mic at the Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse for the last five and a half years, and this Saturday, while Bentzen Ball is in full swing at D.C. venues, the comics plan to host "The Best of the DMV Comedy Showcase" (alternate title: "Rejects of the Bentzen Ball") at the Arlington comedy spot. To get on the bill, Kline says, the criteria is as follows: 1) You are funny, 2) you applied to get on the Bentzen Ball roster, and 3) you didn't make the cut.
After Brightest Young Things announced Bentzen's then-latest lineup on Sept. 10, some comics took to Twitter to criticize what they considered a lack of local talent.
BYT had made an effort to recruit local comics, though—about a week earlier, they'd posted an open call for YouTube clip submissions. The open call yielded 92 entries, according to BYT co-founder and publisher Svetlana Legetic. In the end, 19 locals were booked for the festival. Several of them were added recently as part of a cheap (or free, with purchase of another Bentzen ticket) locals-only "happy hour" show on Saturday at the Lincoln Theatre.
Nineteen seems like a pretty healthy number of locals. Yet Kline says the culture website and promoter still lacks a strong reputation among many area comics, who doubt its "on-the-ground" knowledge of D.C. comedy is equal to its understanding of, say, local music.
Legetic says she's fully aware of the Brightest Young Things stereotype. "I understand that a lot of people think that we’re smug assholes who sit in an office and drink, like, Vodka Red Bulls and throw parties,” she says of the six-person full-time staff. But she says "I'm incredibly aware of people who are trying to make it. We in the publishing world are also trying to make it. All the support, all the exposure, all the everything, matters."
The Bentzen Ball was curated by professional stand-up comic Notaro, who hooked up with BYT in 2008. At the time, Legetic says, Notaro felt that D.C. was a "really smart city that got a lot of jokes." She teamed up with BYT to produce the first Bentzen Ball in 2009, and it became the group's biggest event yet. "The idea was to do something over four days that's like this magical comedy camp, where people small and big, in terms of fame, can hang out," Legetic says.
Kline and Terrance performed at the 2009 festival. Since then, the local comedy scene has improved dramatically, they both agree. At the same time, Bentzen Ball has shrunk. There were 45 or 50 shows in 2009, which made it easy to accommodate lots of short sets from locals, Legetic says. But it also made the festival difficult to manage. This year, Bentzen Ball only booked 12 events. And critically, no one who played the 2009 festival was considered for this year's lineup. That was Notaro's decision, Legetic says, and BYT didn't make that especially clear to local comedians who responded to the open call.
The 2013 shows are organized into categories, including stand-up, improv, and variety (musical acts like Garfunkel and Oates), and they have themes, like the "Handsome Men of Bentzen Ball," featuring locals Michael Foody and Brandon Wardell. Legetic says after they pulled together all of the YouTube clips, Notaro sent BYT a list of around 30 people whom she thought would work best. That list was then whittled down to the final group based on their availability and how well they fit into a particular lineup.
(BYT staff member and stand-up comic Jenn Tisdale is one who made the cut, a fact that may rankle some applicants, Legetic says. "We had a conversation about whether we should put Jenn on it... But she works very hard and we think she’s very funny and Tig thinks she’s very funny, and in the end, that’s it. Are we going to punish someone?")
The festival is funded almost entirely out of pocket by BYT; 10 percent of the funds come from sponsorships. It's a gamble, but it might pay off: As of Friday, they had already sold more tickets—3,000—than they sold in 2009. But the process still feels very hectic and thrown together. Marc Maron, John Hodgman, and Eugene Mirman were all confirmed but had to drop out, Legetic says. They lost venues like the Hamilton, Sixth and I, Penn Social, Studio Theatre, Woolly Mammoth, and Black Cat, because they couldn’t keep holds without a concrete lineup. "It was like, 'We’re getting Amy Schumer! We’re getting John Hodgman! Tig just texted Louis C.K.!' Then, ‘This is not happening, that’s not happening. Zach Galifianakis is having a baby, Adam Scott’s, like, child is having a birthday that weekend."
Kline acknowledges that the local comics bummed about getting turned down may just need to develop a thicker skin. After all, it's comedy, where consistent and brutal rejection is normal, and can even fuel great material. "When I was younger, I’d probably have had my feelings hurt, too," he says. "Once you've been through that process where you know that you should have gotten that thing but you didn't get it for reasons other than just purely who's the better comic, you sort of laugh it off." Kline says that a D.C. comedy festival doesn't necessarily need to be hyperlocal, either. "I mean, Asheville, N.C., has a comedy festival. It’s not so they can showcase the local scene. It’s so other people can come to Asheville."
But the planned Bentzen Ball Rejects show—which Kline and Terrance are still finalizing—serves a distinct purpose, Kline says. They "wanted to point out that there are always people who get left out of these things, and let’s shine a light on them. Because quite often the locals are just as good as a lot of the people who got on or came in from out of town. They just don’t have the credits or the visibility." For Saturday's Bentzen Ball rejects show, they've confirmed appearances from David Tveite, Matty Litwack, Reggie Melbrough, Tyler Richardson, Chelsea Shorte, Chris Milner, Randy Syphax, Nate Johnson, Becca Steinhoff, and Ryan Schutt.
Are there any comedy festivals that get it right? Kline and Terrance both mention Just for Laughs, the mammoth showcase held every summer in Montreal since 1983. But even that one has its critics. "You can get into Montreal and it's this big industry gang bang, and if you don’t get attention from Montreal, you’ll be like, 'Fuck Montreal, it wasn't that good,'" says Kline. Case in point: Comic Doug Stanhope's answer to the Montreal festival, "Just for Spite."
While Legetic says she hasn't received any direct complaints about Bentzen's selection process, she acknowledges that some people are unhappy. But she hopes that if this revival of the Bentzen Ball is successful, it could get bigger and open up more opportunities for locals. "If this succeeds and this four days doesn't kill us, bankrupt us, destroy our faith in humanity," she says, "we’ll be there next year."
Photo by Darrow Montgomery