Kindler delivers State of Industry address

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MONTREAL -- The 25th anniversary of the comedy festival, the Chris Albrecht controversy, Don Imus, Carlos Mencia, the big agencies and "Saturday Night Live" were among the objects of punchlines in Andy Kindler's annual State of the Industry address here at the Just for Laughs festival Friday afternoon.

Kindler, who has given the address for 12 years, once again played to a crowded room and earned strong reviews from his peers.

Talking about JFL, Kindler said its first edition was probably like Woodstock, "just not as good." In reference to his having delivered his annual fixture at about half of all festivals, he said: "If the festival is a dinosaur, I'm a wooly mammoth."

Kindler also suggested a good way to celebrate JFL's 25th anniversary: "Let's celebrate right now by ending it!"

Discussing Albrecht's departure from HBO, the comic said a network executive had argued the longtime boss still had his fingerprints all over HBO projects. "When he made Arliss, he wore gloves," Kindler quipped. "I thought he'd get arrested when they did that show."

The big talent agencies these days seem to have various people handling different aspects of a client's career, Kindler noted, pointing to Mel Gibson's recent image issues as a case in point.

"There is one agent who just handles his anti-semitic outbursts," the comic argued.

Kindler once again chided Mencia for claiming he was just saying what most people were thinking. Kindler's conclusion: "Wasn't that what Hitler said, too?"

The comic also fired a broadside against Lorne Michaels and his "SNL," saying the show was weak these days. "Lorne Michaels doesn't know the difference between Richard Pryor and Dane Cook," he said, adding that -- obviously -- he wasn't expecting an invitation to host the show.

Last year, Kindler had spent about 20 minutes on ubiquitous young comic Cook and his performance style, and he had another joke about him this year, saying Sony was selling a $14.99 DVD full of his rejected pilots.

Kindler also had a few punchlines dedicated to Imus, saying, among other things, "I hated Imus before hating Imus was cool."

Kindler also earned laughs with riffs about Paul Provenza ("He took time out of his empty schedule to come here!" and "He let nonfame go to his head.") and Michael Richards.

Among other object's of Kindler's jokes were TV shows -- such as "Last Comic Standing," "Comics Unleashed," "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip," "Scrubs," "The View" and "The King of Queens" -- as well as films ("Delta Farce") and popular Web sites MySpace and YouTube.

Kindler had the industry crowd in stitches when saying someone took a video of one of his appearances and put it on YouTube, earning comments about the good quality of the video. "Like I planned that," Kindler quipped. "Let's do a three cell phone camera shoot."

Many of his other regular targets -- including Jay Leno, Dennis Miller, Whoopi Goldberg and Robin Williams -- also showed up briefly in his address, but Carrot Top got away without a mention for a change.

Kindler also once again had some self-deprecating humor for his audience, joking, for example, that he had earned an Emmy nomination for actor most likely to lose his health insurance.

The comic even had some non-industry bits or jokes that were less inside baseball that earned strong laughs. "Why do real estate people have headshots?," he asked during his address, for example.

Kindler also recounted a recent funeral where ministers greeted mourners with a healthy "Morning!" only to hear a low and mumbled reply. The ministers answered: "You can do better than that!"
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