Bourdain Becomes a Standup Guy

October 29, 2012

By Karen

In preparation for his new Guts & Glory tour in November, Anthony Bourdain dropped in at the Comedy Cellar in NYC last week and did 10 minutes of standup to test his material. I’m sure it was better than bombing in front several thousand people, which is what his personal appearances typically attract, given the space, but it was risky in that he wasn’t guaranteed an audience of foodies.

Imagine making cracks about Guy Fieri and Adam Richman to people who have never heard of them.

But no guts, no glory. That’s our Tony!

I’ve been watching the final season of No Reservations, and he utterly charmed me in Burgundy and Emilia-Romagna. And I was awed by Ottavia’s amazing display of lower-body strength in Rio when she wrapped her legs like a boa constrictor around her hapless opponent to win her first Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu match.

No Res wraps on November 5 in Brooklyn — and Travel Channel waves buh-bye to future Emmys unless crown prince Zimmern can rise above a diet of balls and bugs.
To watch the Brooklyn show, Tony’s fan-favorite sidekick, Zamir, will be the guest of honor at the Lafayette Hotel in Buffalo, NY, where there will also be a Bourdain impersonator contest. Let’s hope somebody captures some video of that.

The second and final Bourdain-led season of The Layover begins in the No Res time slot November 19. Tony’s selection of places is excellent: Chicago, Atlanta, Dublin, New Orleans, Paris, Philadelphia, Sao Paolo, Seattle, Taipei, and Toronto.

It will be interesting to see how Travel Channel pads and drags out Layover to milk the illusion of Tony’s presence as long as possible.

I believe Tony begins work on his new, as-yet-unnamed CNN series in December.

But before all that, on November 9 a new 30-minute series debuts on PBS at 9 p.m. called The Mind of a Chef. It stars David Chang, with Bourdain as executive producer and narrator.

Details have been released on how Tony and Nigella Lawson’s ABC food competition, The Taste, will work. What sticks in my craw is the bit pitting amateurs against pros, but I trust that Bourdain wouldn’t condone a vastly uneven playing field after his merciless mocking of non-chefs on other similar shows.

And it seems Tony may have finally been bitten by the merchandising bug…

Zagat and Eater reported that Bourdain and BFF Eric Ripert may be launching a new chocolate bar called Good & Evil some time after November 8, but nobody seems to know any details.

First a graphic novel comic book, now candy. What next? Bubble gum with celebrity chef trading cards?

Old news, but also of interest…

On October 11, Bourdain got roasted at the New York Wine & Food Festival. Here are some of the zingers, and it sounds like Eric Ripert stooped nicely to the occasion.

More zingers.

The following morning, Tony got to spend 3 whole minutes chatting with Savannah Guthrie on the Today Show.

Bourdain recently did a phone interview with the Houston Press. It was published in 2 parts, and part 2 was most worth reading.

In part 1, Tony said he’d like to see chicken Caesar salads disappear from restaurant menus, and took a swipe at old white-haired food critics that got a rise out of John Mariani of Esquire.


Bourdain’s Back in Brazil

April 11, 2011

By Karen

In tonight’s new episode of No Reservations, Anthony Bourdain revisits Brazil — but this time, he bypasses cosmopolitan Rio for the Amazon jungle. During this shoot, he developed a severe back problem and honed his acting skills trying not to wince in pain. Here’s the promo of him eating an anesthetizing local soup called Tacacá…

Tony seems to be branching out with his own TV endeavors in association with Zero Point Zero Productions. BourdainChankoTV posed this demo for Komrads, a potential new show featuring Zamir and ZPZ Associate Producer Nari Kye as unlikely traveling companions…

John Kessler at the Atlanta Journal Constitution is still trying to sort out the Bourdain/Mariani ethical debate over food writers getting comped for their subject matter.

It’s one of those “burning” issues that reminds me how NOT a foodie I am, particularly after taking someone’s advice to use my homemade chicken stock to prepare couscous. All I can say about couscous is Bleeeecccchhhh! Not rice, not pasta, just bland and grainy. And this is after forcing myself (for cholesterol’s sake) to acquire a taste for oatmeal.

Alice Waters leaped into the Twitter fray on March 28 with a folksy chicken motif, and then confessed to LA Weekly that she is Ruth Bourdain. Yeah, right. Next she’ll be claiming she’s the Bronx Zoo’s cobra.


Bourdain Stirs, the Pot Boils

April 4, 2011

By Karen

No Reservations returns to San Francisco in a rerun tonight, launching a 3-night SF marathon that includes Zimmern and Man v. Food. Tony’s next new episode is April 11 in Brazil.

Last week in the Ozark’s… what can I say? Really, what? I kept leaving the room rather than watch Bourdain chow down on roadkill with his new friends, whom he swears aren’t hillbillies. Sure, but only because the term hillbillies died with Jed Clampett. If you’ve spent any time in the South, you know rednecks when you see them.

Birthday shout-out to daughter Ariane, who turns 4 on April 9. Ottavia tweeted that dad is teaching Ariane how to ride a bike.

Tony’s nemesis, Sandra Lee, gave an extensive interview to New York magazine where she forgives Tony for his cruelty, saying she realizes it’s only part of his “schtick.”

The infamous verbal piss Tony took in his blog last week on the James Beard awards (see also Chapter 13 in Medium Raw) made a big splash. Michael Bauer at Inside Scoop at SF Gate took offense that Bourdain slammed home cooks who create recipes. But the way I read it, Tony was targeting those who write about cooks.

Bauer was joined by the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s John Kessler, and in Kessler’s post’s comments, Esquire food writer John Mariani, who’s reputed to be demanding and a mooch, leaps into the fray to lock horns with Tony again. If you keep reading, Tony asserts that NR does pay for food, except in instances where the host would be insulted, and that he personally tries to avoid being comped in restaurants because he doesn’t want to be “that guy.”

I believe Bourdain’s sincere and, personally, the only people I find more annoying than food critics are Tom Colicchio and Padma.

And if all that weren’t enough, Bourdain brewed a tempest in a beer mug by implying in a tweet that “Big Beer” muscled Discovery Channel into canceling a series called Brew Masters by threatening to yank their ads. This was a reality show produced by Zero Point Zero about Dogfish Head Brewery that filmed only 6 episodes, according to the brewery’s founder, so its future was never certain.

Variety reports that Zero Point Zero has signed a distribution deal with FremantleMedia Enterprises that includes any future seasons of No Res, and a “new Bourdain title” currently under development.

Hmmmm… what could that be about? A Year in Vietnam, perhaps?


Advance Peeks at Bourdain’s “Medium Raw”

May 24, 2010

By Karen

Naturally, Grub Street got its grubby hands on an advance copy of Anthony Bourdain’s new book, Medium Raw, and published a smorgasbord of snarky bits. Nasty backlash has already begun in an Esquire blog post by John Mariani.

Only the first chapter has crossed my path, and I had a comparatively generous reaction…

Bourdain starts off describing a dinner party that could be from one of his crime novels, at an anonymous restaurant with “some of the most respected chefs in America,” also unnamed. They’re served a dish that’s so illegal (and up there in grossness with warthog ass, in my opinion), they all eat with their napkins over their heads.

Then it gets good: Tony flashes back a few years to pre-Kitchen Confidential, slinging hash at a lunch counter, resentful and humiliated. He has nowhere to go but up. That’s the part that left me “hungry for more.”

Any day, I prefer Tony the working stiff to the gourmet hob-nobber — the writing feels truer — so I hope the book holds plenty more of that. And as a non-foodie, the evolution of Bourdain the writer/traveler interests me more than lengthy analyses of cuisine and the people who prepare or eat it.

I’ll be in Barnes & Noble on publication day, June 8, to get the rest of the story.

Tony’s publisher Ecco’s parent, HarperCollins, lists the top 10 signs you’re a Bourdain fanatic.

NBC Washington got a good-natured joint interview with Ripert and Tony before they appeared together in DC on May 21. Tony sees them as the Odd Couple. Ripert thinks they’re Laurel & Hardy. How about you? I’m seeing Martin & Lewis, without Jerry’s silly mugging.

That same night, thanks to a timely tweet from Ottavia, fans could catch Tony on Anderson Cooper 360° on CNN, where he talked about current events and deftly dismissed Sarah Palin as a serious contender for anything, right to Ted Nugent’s face.

The LA Times reported on Bourdain’s recent trip to Beirut to finish what he started. Tony shared with Newsweek his reaction to being nominated for an Emmy for the first Beirut episode.

On May 22, Bourdain and Ripert appeared in Baltimore, where some people are still apparently steamed over the NR episode he filmed there, according to the Baltimore Sun. The publication got a joint interview, as well.

Serious Eats asked readers for their opinions of Bourdain and got them. He certainly doesn’t seem to attract fence-sitters.


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