Author Archives: joel

Joel Radio #67: As Seen on CompuServe


Joel and Corey go back-to-back weeks for the first time in quite a while. And for no good reason either, as the guys sample the latest movie reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. While Corey is listed over there, what’s more interesting is the critics that don’t get with the critical mass, and the one guy who publishes his reviews on CompuServe. That’s right, CompuServe. If you can’t remember 1995, then fire up the Compuserve homepage, and take a trip back to the Clinton administration. Also, Joel is up sick and rediscovers the genius of D.C. Cab, and its star Charlie Barnett. That’s another time traveling trip – right back to 1983! Gary Busey! Bill Maher! Mr. T! Paul Rodriguez! Marsha Warfield! Irene Cara! Whitman Mayo! Awesome! Plus, The Change-Up makes a tired premise more tired, Rise of the Planet of the Apes sinks, Cowboys and Aliens coasts, and Joel will take Christina Applegate’s leftovers.

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Charlie Barnett does his thing in Washington Square Park. Very funny. Dated, but funny.

Joel Radio #66: Fishing With Jake


Joel Radio returns with power. Really. Power, meaning the utility company actually managed to keep the lights on long enough to finish the podcast. This follows a long, hot, sticky week in Detroit, where the power went out, a comedy show was ruined and the people were miserable – sounds like every week! Actually not, as Joel saw Paul McCartney perform live this week and gives a full, enthusiastic review. Corey, meanwhile, is stuck at home watching reality TV. Especially his favorite show, Storage Wars. But for God’s sake, don’t watch the sad, 2nd-tier knock-offs. Also, the guys join Google +, Jake Gyllenhaal goes to the wild, Hillbilly Handfishin’, and Katy Perry’s ass comes out for the Smurfs. Plus, Falling Skies soars, 30 Minutes or Less is the summer’s best comedy, and new website is imminent.

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Joel’s view of the Paul McCartney show at Comerica Park. It’s OK to be jealous

Comedy Castle emcee seminar this weekend


This Saturday, July 23rd, The Comedy Castle in Royal Oak, Michigan will be presenting a seminar for potential emcees from 12:30 to 2:30 PM. The seminar will be taught by Kevin Wheeler, the club’s long-serving room manager. Kevin, if you didn’t know, is also a successful comedian with sixteen years of experience who has shared the stage with such comedy luminaries as Howie Mandel, Kevin James, and Lewis Black. The fee for the seminar is $25.00.

Kevin will show you the ins and outs of the job, and since he’s the guy who picks the emcee and the list for the Wednesday open mike show, him having a familiarity with you and your act should pay dividends down the road. While I don’t believe that a “comedy class” is really necessary to break into stand-up comedy, this is something different. Think of this as advanced training to become an specialist. The emcee position isn’t one that’s often coveted, but its a paying, entry-level job in comedy – and this is a time when ANY paying job in comedy is hard to come by. If you want to work at the Comedy Castle, consider this a foot (or a hand or a leg) in the door.

To register, call the Comedy Castle at 248-542-9900 or for more info or go to

The Case for Paul McCartney Part 2


Following up from Part 1, here’s Paul doing an acoustic demo of “Goodbye”, a song he wrote for singer Mary Hopkin in 1969. The song was a hit for Mary, but I can’t help thinking that this would be considered a all-time Beatles classic had it been on the White Album (it was written around that time) or even better had appeared on the Beatles final studio recording Abbey Road, or even Paul’s 1970 solo debut album.

I guess the case against Paul doing this one himself was that the song is written from a woman’s perspective, and he’s singing in a high falsetto, closer to Mary’s range and not his normal singing voice. Still, this is considered one of the all-time great Beatles unreleased demos and an oft-rumored candidate for a McCartney solo Anthology-type release.

Anyway, enjoy, courtesy of YouTube – Warning! You’ll be humming this all day:

Stand-Up and Go starts this week!

My newest comedy venture, Stand up and Go with Joel Fragomeni, starts this Thursday night July 14th at 10pm. This will be a weekly show at the Go Comedy! Improv Theater in Ferndale, Michigan.

For those of you that don’t know, Go Comedy! started a few years ago and quickly became THE spot for improv comedy in the Detroit area. There have been a few iterations of The Second City in Detroit over the years, the Comedy Castle had Totally Unrehearsed Theater on Tuesdays for years, and Planet Ant is still operating in Hamtramck, but Go Comedy! outclassed all of those in little time by providing a classy, friendly, professional environment for their performers and audience. If you attend a Go Comedy! performance you’ll find a very young, energetic crowd – the opposite of you’ll find most nights at a stand-up show, open mike or otherwise. It’s with this energy and environment that I hope Stand-Up and Go will become THE show in Detroit for veteran and new comics alike. A place to explore new material, meet other comics on the scene, and generally have a good time.

I know most of you know I hosted Club Bart’s Comedy Night for over a decade. I loved Club Bart and I tried to make it as open an accessible to anyone who wanted to perform, whether you were a veteran or a first-timer. I would like that spirit to continue at Go Comedy!, however there are going to have to be restrictions on stage time that I didn’t have at Bart’ s, so right now I am only booking a fixed number of comedians on the show. As of this writing, the first two shows are completely full, although there is always a chance of a cancellation. So if you are interested in performing, please come to the show to lend your support. A spot may even open up on the night, you never know. I don’t have a set-in-stone way of making the list for this show yet, but those who show enthusiasm and support will be given opportunities. There is also going to be a $5 cover to attend this show, but you can get a free pass right here.

The first show features an excellent line-up which, right now, looks like this: Myself hosting, Matt McClowry, Jeff Scheen, Martin Butler, Michael Soave, Harry Artin, Matt Gulley, Jeff Horste, Leola Stafford, Ron Taylor, Mike Lundy, Eric Thomas, Jeff Arcuri and Bill Bushart.

Please come out and support this show! It’s gonna be good!

Joel Radio #65: Unskimmed

Joel and Corey are joined on this show by Eric Thomas, a comedian, radio talent and podcaster. Eric claims he can talk about anything – and he does! This is a really fun show. The guys memorialize the end Club Bart’s Comedy Night and look forward to Joel’s new show (info here!). There’s also much irreverence about the Casey Anthony not guilty verdict, including Florida’s future stripper prospects and Joel’s explanation of why “reasonable doubt” isn’t what people think it is. Also, the top movies of 2011 so far, Joel revamps the blog, Corey cries for old media, and Corey and Joel play old school hip-hop experts – about as well as you think they would.

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The Case for Paul McCartney Part 1

With Paul McCartney coming to Detroit soon, and me having tickets, here’s the first in a series of posts showing his awesomeness  – and I’m not even going to include Beatles stuff!

Anyway, check out the “Rockestra Theme” via YouTube:

That’s Paul with help from Wings, David Gilmour from Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham and John Paul Jones and Pete Townsend from The Who on lead guitar. Read more about it at Wikipedia. Awesome.

Happy 4th of July!

Goodbye to Club Bart

To anyone that’s known me for the last twelve years or so, you’ve known one thing – I spent every Thursday night at Club Bart, a restaurant and bar in Ferndale, Michigan. Every Thursday night. OK, I went on the road a few weeks a year, but aside from that, every Thursday was spent at Club Bart. The reason – comedy night.

Founded in 1998, Club Bart’s comedy night was Detroit’s alt-comedy night, the “wild” open mike, a place for new comics to learn the ropes, and a place for comics that the big clubs wouldn’t book. The list of freaks, failures, and weirdos that made an attempt at performing comedy would melt my WordPress database if I tried describing them all. Instead I want to write about my experiences, says some thank yous, and describe why something often described as “truly awful” was actually something wonderful. Read the rest of this entry

The best movies of 2011 so far….

Not that I’ve seen all that many this year.

Here’s my top 5 (half a top 10 for half a year):

  1. Win Win – Great indie comedy with Paul Giamatti
  2. Super 8 – E.T. bangs Cloverfield, makes this – awesome
  3. Hanna – Tense, fluid, cinematic. No love for The Chemical Brothers score? Much better than what Daft Punk did for Tron: Legacy.
  4. X-Men: First Class – Surprised me. Kind of like the J.J. Abrams Star Trek reboot from a few summers ago. Fun.
  5. Source Code – A modern, Twilight Zone inspired thriller. Puts stand-up comedy in a great light, too. You have to see it to understand.

Honorable mention to the comedies Cedar Rapids, Bridesmaids and, go ahead and hate me, The Hangover II.

My top 10 movies (and those of MetroTimes critic Corey Hall) can be heard on episode #54 of Joel Radio which you can access by clicking here.