If you have not watched last night’s Purple Wedding episode of Game of Thrones on HBO, please do not read any further! If you have watched the Purple Wedding episode of Game of Thrones, please, by all means, click play on the video below. This delightful mashup finds Joffrey Baratheon eating it during the wedding in Westeros with the help of Gene Wilder, Adam Sandler, the Ghostbusters, Nelson Muntz from The Simpsons and many more. If you want a decent recap of the episode, check out The New York Times take here. If you don’t care about plot and just want to laugh for a minute, watch the video below.
Hilary Duff, who’s recently gone through a public split from husband Mike Comrie, now has reason to celebrate: she’ll star in Younger, an upcoming comedy series from Sex and the City producer Darren Star. The 26-year-old singer and former Disney standout – remember Lizzie McGuire? – will star as Kelsey, the young friend of 40-year old Liza (Sutton Foster), a newly single mother just getting back into the world of working and dating. Liza’s best friend Maggie (Debi Mazar) gives her a makeover so that she looks 26 and lands a job as an assistant to Diana (Miriam Schor). Foster (pictured to the right), best known for her work on Broadway, has snagged two Tony awards for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical for her roles in Thoroughly Modern Millie and Anything Goes. She most recently starred in Bunheads, a critically acclaimed but short-lived comedy series that aired on ABC Family from 2012 to 2013. Sutton’s real age, by the way, is 39.
TV Land ordered 12 episodes of Younger, which is slated to premiere this Fall. The series will be the first TV Land production to be shot in New York City, no doubt one of Starr’s request due to the on-location New York connection of Sex and the City. The network boasts some of the most popular basic cable comedy shows on television, including Hot in Cleveland and The Soul Man. “There’s nothing better than making a single camera film comedy in New York – and I’m thrilled to be doing this one with TV Land,” said Darren Star. “Larry Jones, Keith Cox and their entire team have been incredibly supportive. Looking forward to working with our awesome cast led by my Broadway crush Sutton Foster.”
Jay Leno, America’s Got Talent’s Tom Cotter to headline Lucille Ball Comedy Festival in Jamestown, NY
Comedians Jay Leno and Tom Cotter will headline the 2014 Lucille Ball Comedy Festival this August in Jamestown, NY. The annual festival is part of a mission to preserve the comedic legacy of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, which includes The Lucy Desi Museum & Center for Comedy. The festival includes the headlining shows as well as a “Comics to Watch” stand-up showcase hosted by Caroline Rhea. Jay Leno, of course, is fresh off of leaving The Tonight Show in February. Tom Cotter is a nationally touring comedian who rose to national fame with his runner-up finish on America’s Got Talent in 2012. The festival will also feature Emmy Award-winning singer Lucie Arnaz and live album recordings by Rooftop Comedy. The Lucy Desi Museum & Center for Comedy has also announced that they will attempt to break the Guinness World Record for most people stomping grapes in one location; in 2011, the festival broke the record for the most people people dressed as Lucy Ricardo in one place– 916, to be exact.
Tickets go on sale to the general public on April 18th at noon EST. You can purchase tickets by visiting their website or by calling the Lucy Desi Center for Comedy box office at (716) 484-0800.
#RIP Jennifer Lopez trending worldwide: Death hoax is dumb but South Park’s Jennifer Lopez treatment is classic (Video)
Jennifer Lopez is the latest celebrity to be treated to a Twitter death hoax, which is why, as we write this, #RIP Jennifer Lopez is currently trending worldwide. Lopez joins the ranks of celebrities like Hugh Hefner, Usher, Jon Bon Jovi, Jeff Goldblum, Zach Braff and many others who have been unceremoniously put to death via social media. But the truth is Jennifer Lopez is alive and well, still shacking up with her much younger boyfriend Casper Smart. On Saturday she spoke at the 25th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in L.A., revealing personal details about her gay aunt.
“I’ve always felt a tremendous love from the LGBT community and the LGBT community has always supported me and returned that love,” Lopez told the crowd after accepting a GLAAD award. “Marisa was my cool aunt. She was my mom’s older sister and she lived in New York City. I lived in the Bronx and she lived in Manhattan, it was like worlds away! She wanted to be an actress and I always wanted to be like her. Marisa grew up gay in a time when it meant life could be very difficult and that her struggles were mostly kept t herself.”
But we’ll always lovingly remember Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s hilarious treatment of Jennifer Lopez in season seven. We’d like to believe the pop star has a good sense of humor about these things. So in honor of Jennifer Lopez’s Twitter death hoax, let’s check out the Taco-Flavor Kisses clip from South Park!
Funny Or Die celebrates Passover with James Bond Jewish edition, starring Phil Rosenthal and Patton Oswalt (Video)
Sundown tonight marks the start of Passover, the most observed Jewish holiday— the one that honors the biblical mandate to come together, enjoy a bountiful meal and give thanks for having been liberated from the rule of Pharaohs in Ancient Egypt some 3,300 years ago. In tribute to our Jewish friends celebrating Passover, we wanted to pass along this hilarious re-imagining of the James Bond franchise from the folks at Funny Or Die.
In it, Phil Rosenthal, co-creator and executive producer of Everybody Loves Raymond takes on the new James Bond role. The difference, however, is that he’s Jewish and a total mensch. He doesn’t necessarily need the latest high-end gadgets; his confrontations with evil villains are a bit progressive and his interactions with scantily clad Bond Girls are touchy-feely but only in the metaphorical way. In short, he’s the type of James Bond you could introduce to your mom.
Check out the Funny Or Die video below, which also stars Patton Oswalt as the Bond villain.Jewish James Bond with Phil Rosenthal and Patton Oswalt from Funny Or Die
The release of the Funny Or Die video is even more timely, seeing as in real life, news just broke that Penelope Cruz may be tapped to play the newest Bond Girl in the follow-up to 2012’s Skyfall, starring Daniel Craig. We’ll have to wait and see how that plays out!
Otto Petersen, the comedian behind x-rated ventriloquist act Otto & George, died yesterday while taking a nap. As of this writing, no cause of death has been revealed. Petersen was 53. A longtime, recurring guest on the Opie and Anthony Show on SiriusXM, the announcement was made there this morning.
“I am heartbroken to hear @OttoAndGeorge has died. He was so brilliantly funny. I really loved him,” comedian Jim Norton, co-host on the Opie and Anthony Show tweeted earlier today. “Otto was a fearless funny bastard,” comedian Colin Quinn added on Twitter. In May of 2013, Peteresen contracted bacterial meningitis and was placed in a medically-induced coma for about a week, though it’s unclear if his death had anything to do with that. The audio of the announcement is below.
The Staten Island native began as a street act with his dummy George Dudley in New York City in the early 70s before moving the ventriloquism into night clubs where his show evolved into the x-rated show that launched his his career. Petersen has since appeared with George on Late Show with David Letterman, The Aristocrats, I’m No Dummy, and The Playboy Channel. A few years ago he completed a season of his web series The Pig Roast with Otto & George.
We’ll be adding to this post as we get more information about Petersen’s death. For now, please keep his friends and family in your thoughts and check out a few videos below.
Jon Hamm’s Don Draper and the rest of the Mad Men cast returns for the seventh and final season of the critically-acclaimed drama tonight at 10 pm ET on AMC. And while we’re fans of the show, we here at Laughspin are always looking for a good laugh. So, what better way to celebrate the beginning of the end of Mad Men with Jessica Paré — she plays Megan Draper, Don Draper’s second wife — who stars in this stellar Funny or Die video? In it, the folks at Funny or Die imagine what it would be like if every actress actually meant it when they told interviewers, “I eat whatever I want” when asked how they keep in such great physical shape.
The Funny or Die universe is one in which Paré doesn’t even know about the existence of junk food until an Access Hollywood reporter (Shaun Robinson) mentions hamburgers. As you could imagine Paré’s days of kale are over and the unspeakable happens. Suffice it to say, the lean frame we recently peeped in Esquire is a faded memory. Check out the full Funny or Die video below! And if you need a Mad Men primer for the seventh season premiere, we suggest you check out Hollywood Reporter‘s rundown.Jessica Paré Can Eat Whatever She Wants from Jessica Paré
Move over, Just For Laughs and make way for The Comedy Exposition! Chicago learned last year that it would not be hosting another TBS-sponsored Just For Laughs Chicago festival in 2014. A staple of the comedy festivals circuit, JFL Chicago debuted in 2009 as another showcase for rising comedians and national headliners to converge for fans in the Windy City. A group of comedians have organized to make sure that Chicago, a city that has consistently churned out comedy stars, gets the comedy festival that it deserves. The Comedy Exposition is organized by Chicago comics Katie McVay, Stephanie Hasz, Matt Byrne, Zach Peterson, and Goodrich Gevaar (whose official position is “Purveyor of Good Vibes™”).
The freshman festival launched a Kickstarter campaign to crowdfund the effort less than two weeks ago…and hit its $3,000 goal in under 24 hours! Now they’ve upped the ante and want to reach $6,000 in 19 days. The additional funding would promise twice the original amount of national headlining acts, according the the Kickstarter page. And check this out: they’re already at $5,688 as of this writing! “We love Chicago, and with the addition of those higher profile acts, we’ll be able to bring more press attention and prestige to the fest (and exciting acts to a comedy-loving city!),” Byrne tells Laughspin. “We want to really showcase the talent here in the city and submissions from around the country, and fantastic headliners can help us do that.”
The DIY comedy festival has announced its first headliners: Sean Patton (Conan, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central) and Sean O’Connor (Conan, The Half Hour)! The three-day comedy expo kicks off on July 11. In addition to headliner shows, comedy fans can also check out multiple showcases featuring some of the country’s up-and-coming stand-up comics. Donate to the Kickstarter campaign here and help The Comedy Exposition of 2014 bring even bigger names to Chicago this summer! Comedians looking to submit to the showcases can see details on the festival’s website.
Steve Carell’s celebrity improv game show Riot has been ordered to series and will feature famous guests including Jason Alexander, Cheryl Hines and Carell himself! Originally developed under the name Slide Show, Riot has a regular cast of contestants playing improv games with Hollywood celebrities while on a stage that is slanted at a 22-degree angle. Think Whose Line Is It Anyway? meets Wipeout!. Executive producer and contestant Carell brought the game show to the United States after various versions of the concept gained popularity in France, Australia, Portugal and Denmark. Even the Netherlands, Spain and China will launch their own versions.
In addition to Carrell, Hines and Alexander, TVLine.com reports that the following actors and comedians have been confirmed as guest players:
- D.L. Hughley
- Tom Green
- Chris Kattan (Saturday Night Live)
- Mayim Bialik (The Big Bang Theory)
- David Arquette (Scream series)
- Oscar Nunez (The Office)
- Andy Dick
- Orlando Jones (The Replacements)
- Nicole Sullivan (Mad TV) (pictured)
- Michael Ian Black
- Will Sasso (The Three Stooges)
- Andy Buckley (The Office)
- Rob Delaney
Australian comedian Rove McManus will serve as host while the series regulars include comedians John Ross Bowie, Jamie Denbo, Brian Palermo, Jordan Black, Jessica McKenna, Meryl hathaway and Rob Gleeson. Riot premieres May 13 at 9 pm EST on Fox.
Watch: Disney’s ‘Girl Meets World’ follow up to ‘Boy Meets World’ finds Danielle Fishel and Topanga all grown up
Cory and Topanga Matthews make their triumphant return in Disney’s first official Girl Meets World trailer. Disney is building a lot of hype behind the Boy Meets World follow-up series since they cast the titular “Girl” last year. Excitement only grew further when a video went viral of Samuel L. Jackson performing a BMW slam poetry tribute on The Tonight Show last week. Millenials young and old (well, 29 isn’t that old) are awaiting the show’s launch. Girl Meets World continues the saga of all-growed-up Cory Matthews (Ben Savage), his long time love Topanga (Danielle Fishel) and their preteen daughter Riley (Rowan Blanchard) in New York City. The short 30-second trailer teases fans of the old series with old characters and new faces. Girl Meets World, soon to be referred to as GMW I’m sure, will premiere on the Disney Channel some time this summer. Check out the teaser trailer below!
Ben Roy’s ‘No Enlightenment in Sobriety’ is motivational misery, salve for misanthropic minds (Review)
If you follow modern stand-up comedy even casually, youʼre probably aware that booze and drugs arenʼt celebrated today like they once were. Humor superstars like Chris Hardwick, Marc Maron and Russell Brand have all become disciples of sobriety, bemoaning their dark years wasted as cross-eyed drunks.
And it would be easy to dismiss Denver comic Ben Roy as just another addition to the Live, From The Wagon! comedy generation, if he didnʼt spend half his career reminding everyone how bad the wagon smells, as he does in his newest comedy album (available April 15), No Enlightenment In Sobriety. “Iʼve been sober for three years, and Iʼm not any happier or a better person,” Roy says on the new record. “Quitting drinking just takes the liquid earmuffs off your head, and now your demons are way fucking louder than they were before.”
If youʼre unfamiliar with Ben Roy, then No Enlightenment is a great album with which to begin. But for anyone whose been following this Grawlix comedy team member for a few years, the excessive self-branding Roy does as the teetotaling time-bomb of misery is beginning to wear thin. In both this release and 2012ʼs I Got Demons, he reminds us of his sobriety anniversary date; each are filled with nefarious tales of blackout revelry, and hyper monologues on why he stopped drinking. Sobriety may have saved Ben Royʼs life, but itʼs threatening to eclipse his creative identity.
At the same time, this thoroughly tapped well hasnʼt run so dry for Roy that heʼs stopped being interesting. When explaining why sobriety is a good option, he clarifies that itʼs not because life is so great, but because clarity is awful. And sometimes awful is just the ticket. “A little bit of misery is really fucking motivating,” says Roy, going on to explain thatʼs why artistic revolutions come out of economically depressed Detroit, or socially repressed gay neighborhoods– and why nothing good comes from West Palm Beach, Florida. So donʼt numb yourself to the fuel of ugly truth with drugs and booze, because “sometimes the voices in your head are right.”
While the new album may be packaged in the theme of temperance, thereʼs also no shortage of delightfully long-winded rants about social issues that have nothing to do with booze. This misanthropic Tony Robbins will take you down some long roads with his pretzel logic, but thereʼs usually a hearty meal at the end of that rabbit hole.
On his previous album, I Got Demons, Roy won over crowds by dissecting the low-hanging fruit of reality TV icons like Snooki and Honey Boo Boo, or pointing out how Americans are gluttonous slobs that should be ashamed of themselves. Itʼs easy to get people on board with these types of rage-inducing topics, but on No Enlightenment In Sobriety, Ben Roy actively plays the villain by taking on an institution even more universally treasured than feminism, civil rights and gay marriage combined. Pet ownership.
“Dogs and cats are parasitic creatures,” he says, laughing maniacally and proudly noting the tension in the room. “I see no difference between a dog and a giant bedbug… This is just my idea, and you donʼt have to believe it. But I think the reason people own little dogs and carry them around in purses, is because you canʼt own a retard. If you could own a retarded person the mall would be a way different place.”
At times Ben Royʼs patronizing and condemning tone can be a little exhausting, but overall he reveals just enough vulnerability to avoid any Nick Di Paolo antagonism or Bill Maher preachiness. Even when you strongly disagree with him, his dizzying explanations and animated hysteria are charming enough to carry you along for the ride. With No Enlightenment In Sobriety, Ben Roy uses biology to explain why families are bad for you, and quotes the Bible to explain why the homeless are a superior species. Though somehow he never comes off as a sociopath, but a genuinely curious person who knows how to state things in a jarring, vivid way.
Sobriety may not have delivered enlightenment to Ben Roy, but itʼs certainly given him the courage to try and make people laugh at things they actively disagree with. Around the Denver comedy scene heʼs been delivering a bit that aggressively questions whether monogamy is a realistic institution. Audiences often laugh ferociously at this, even though probably very few of them go home and consider polyamory. Just as they continue to toast their beers and cocktails to him while heʼs listing the ways booze nearly ruined his life. And, for the fucking love of all things holy, they will continue to see their dogs and cats as impeachable little angels
After years of cementing his reputation as an unapologetically crass and thick-skinned comic of late-night cable TV – first with Comedy Central’s Insomniac and later with Showtime’s Dave’s Old Porn – Dave Attell was a natural selection to host Comedy Central’s first uncensored stand-up series, Comedy Underground with Dave Attell, premiering this Saturday at 1 am ET.
This new show – which features all the “fucks,” “cunts,” and incest jokes your filthy little heart desires from comics like Amy Schumer, Nikki Glaser and Ralphie May – will also be directly following the premiere of Dave Attell: Road Work, the new one-hour special from the 49-year-old treasure of stand-up.
After a few decades of dirtying up the minds of comedy audiences – coming up alongside Jon Stewart and Louis C.K. in the New York scene, with a brief stint writing for Saturday Night Live during the ’93-’94 season – Dave Attell has developed an eagle’s-eye view of humor’s social politics. During a recent interview with Laughspin, he explained that while television networks may be loosening their ties and giving vulgar comedians a no-strings platform, today’s audiences – particularly younger audiences – are often the ones taking up the role of obscenity police, turning comedy clubs into PC courtrooms and groaning at anything deemed socially objectionable.
After being an off-color comic on late-night TV for so long, it must feel pretty good to be hosting an uncensored show.
Oh yeah, you can get away with a lot more now. The networks know that they’re up against so many different platforms. There are places like HBO showing a lot of hour specials that don’t censor anything, and Comedy Central has to compete with that. I think the comics on Comedy Underground are helping to define what the boundaries are with what you can and can’t say on TV. But at the same time we have to edit each set in a way that keeps the show from being nothing but masturbation jokes; it can’t be the same dirty material over and over because that just gets boring.
So what lead to Comedy Central deciding to run an uncensored show, and what exactly are the parameters of that?
I think that was a network choice. After midnight, that’s when they stop bleeping stuff and air the material the way it was told. They could probably do it earlier, but they’d probably get in trouble since that’s the heavy duty, primetime advertising. They’ve already done that with a lot of specials like Artie Lange and Tracy Morgan, and it’s the same thing with my special. They’re going to air that after midnight, and then Comedy Underground comes afterward, because I think Comedy Underground is way dirtier than my special.
I know you’re not a one-dimensional comic, but it’s probably fair to say you’re known for delivering vulgar imagery with your jokes, and the rebelliousness of that is in part what makes it funny. But now that there’s a mainstream platform for vulgarity, does the tone need to change to keep that punch alive?
Today the line is really drawn by the audience. The audience has so much input now in comedy, with all the social media that’s out there. They’re the ones who groan, they’re the ones who get upset. The networks and all that are pretty much letting the comic do what they want to do, but the audience decides what’s PC, what’s appropriate. That’s the world we live in now — it’s a very PC world.
Get More: Watch More Stand-Up.
But you’re still pretty old-school when it comes to a lot of those issues. When I caught your set in Denver last summer you called marijuana a “faggot coward drug.” Even if you’re not using it in the context of sexual orientation, that word is still the 21st century f-bomb for a lot of audiences.
I think if you listen to the act, a lot of those jokes are about life choices and lifestyles. You know, I’m pro-gay marriage and have given money to GLAAD and all that stuff. But I have to make it funny, I need to have a little bit of a left-turn to make it interesting and fun. I always thought that joke was kind of a throwaway, but with you guys in Colorado leading the charge on pot, it’s taken on a kind of political relevance. But yeah, with that word and that joke, it has nothing to do with sexuality. It’s an old term, and I’m an old man.
A common observation from comics like Bill Cosby or Bob Newhart is that its easier to get a laugh with off-color material, and the real challenge comes with performing clean material. What’s your thoughts on that?
Well, Cosby is a legend, and I’m sure whatever he has to say is more important than what I have to say. But yeah, it’s always more difficult to deliver a clean joke in a dirty club. The majority of people want to hear a clean joke, whether they admit it or not. I started out doing clean material so I could have a shot at getting on the networks. But there’s room for both. The majority of people that come to comedy clubs now are pretty clean people, they’re politically correct, and they live in offices where they have to watch everything they say, and they’re on the Web where they comment and judge. The comedy club is supposed to be a place where they can let their hair down: The comedian on stage isn’t delivering a speech, he’s not running for election.
But at the same time, I hear a lot of groaning from audiences in clubs. And it’s not a situation of performing at some church picnic and wondering “why didn’t they get that porn joke?” It happens with late-night crowds. With a young audience, and I’ll do a masturbation joke and they groan. And I’m like: “Why are you guys groaning?” The joke wasn’t even that dirty. Were you taught that in school or something?
I noticed with both Comedy Underground and the portion of your special filmed at the Stress Factory, you’re performing before a brick-wall background, which to me feels nostalgic for a by-gone era of comedy. Was that a conscious thought of yours, or am I just reading too much into nothing?
It wasn’t a conscious decision, but yeah, when I started in comedy it was always the brick wall. I know that now, especially when you go to LA, there’s all these weird shows in weird places, like in a laundromat or in the parking garage behind a Best Buy. And that’s all cool, because I’m all for stage-time, especially for new guys. But the club scene has kind of been forgotten in a way. All the big comics you see today started out in the clubs, they played in the clubs for years before they became the theater guy, or the TV guy. But even then they’d always say “I can’t wait to get back to the club.” These new type of shows at alternative rooms, it’s all different. The only guy I know who really does bar shows that’s my kind of comic is Doug Stanhope. And he gets people to follow him into the bar world. In my day, being on the road in clubs was where you developed your material. I have no idea how comics do it today. Podcasts, I guess.
With all that in mind, what kind of comics are you looking for when putting together an episode of Comedy Underground?
People with quick-material, people with dark or dirty material that wasn’t being used by the networks. And then I also wanted some of the older names, people that I had been on the road with for years, like Jimmy Shubert, people that have earned their stripes, and now I want to see on TV. It’s hard to balance new guys with people that are already established, but I think we got it.
What we’re not looking for is comics who are on John Oliver’s or Adam Devine’s show, which are also uncensored to some degree, but are more of the alternative comedy scene. They’re all funny and everything, but I know that the kind of crowd I want to draw is different. My personal crowd is older, they get that it’s gonna be dirty and that it’s just a joke– there’s nothing more to it than that.
Stephen Colbert will replace David Letterman as Late Show host in 2015. It’s official, so everyone can stop with their absurd lists of possible replacements for Letterman. As you are likely aware, Letterman announced his retirement plans last week on Late Show. Of course we’re thrilled to see Colbert rise in the ranks of late-night television, but we’re now forced to face the end of The Colbert Report, a program we believed would stay on Comedy Central until Comedy Central was forcibly taken over by the armies of FX and IFC. The full press release of the Colbert announcement from CBS is below.
The CBS Television Network today announced that Stephen Colbert, the host, writer and executive producer of the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning “The Colbert Report,” will succeed David Letterman as the host of THE LATE SHOW, effective when Mr. Letterman retires from the broadcast. The five-year agreement between CBS and Colbert was announced by Leslie Moonves, President and CEO, CBS Corporation, and Nina Tassler, Chairman of CBS Entertainment.
Letterman, the legendary, critically acclaimed host of the CBS late night series for 21 years, announced his retirement on his April 3 broadcast. Colbert’s premiere date as host of THE LATE SHOW will be announced after Mr. Lettermen determines a timetable for his final broadcasts in 2015.
Specific creative elements, as well as the producers and the location for the Colbert-hosted LATE SHOW, will be determined and announced at a later date.
“Stephen Colbert is one of the most inventive and respected forces on television,” said Moonves. “David Letterman’s legacy and accomplishments are an incredible source of pride for all of us here, and today’s announcement speaks to our commitment of upholding what he established for CBS in late night.”
“Stephen is a multi-talented and respected host, writer, producer, satirist and comedian who blazes a trail of thought-provoking conversation, humor and innovation with everything he touches,” said Tassler. ”He is a presence on every stage, with interests and notable accomplishments across a wide spectrum of entertainment, politics, publishing and music. We welcome Stephen to CBS with great pride and excitement, and look forward to introducing him to our network television viewers in late night.”
“Simply being a guest on David Letterman’s show has been a highlight of my career,” said Colbert. “I never dreamed that I would follow in his footsteps, though everyone in late night follows Dave’s lead.”
Adding, “I’m thrilled and grateful that CBS chose me. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go grind a gap in my front teeth.”
Oxygen wants to show the nation how tough it is to be a female stand-up comedian with its new docuseries Funny Girls (working title). The series showcases up-and-coming female comics in Los Angeles as “they strive to break the glass ceiling in the male-dominated comedy business.” Funny Girls will let viewers see the daily struggle of balancing career, relationships, friendships, and paying the bills in one of the country’s largest comedy meccas.
These women’s “uniquely humorous perspectives” will serve as part of Oxygen’s overall rebranding effort this summer, as they launch seven new series targeted towards modern, young women seeking to connect with exceptional and relatable characters. “The combination of Oxygen’s current momentum and upcoming rebrand will fully cement the network’s position with young female viewers,” said network president Frances Berwick. “This new slate of originals will deliver on the freshness, authenticity, high emotional stakes and optimism that this demographic is looking for.” In an industry that requires an ample amount of optimism, freshness and authenticity, Funny Girls may be a fun insight into the lives of comedians trying to make it.
Paul Rudd and Billy Eichner recently took to the streets of Manhattan to play, “Would you have sex with Paul Rudd for a dollar?” As he does so often, the Billy on the Street star lovingly harasses passersby to get his answer. As you could imagine, most respondents were all-too-happy to register a “yes” to the whole having-sex-with-Paul Rudd” idea– because, really, who doesn’t love Paul Rudd?
Microsoft is getting serious about creating original programming for its Xbox One. Xbox Entertainment Studios has turned to Sarah Silverman, Michael Cera and Seth Green for comedy shows to stream on the video game-turned-entertainment console, which currently retails for about $500. Microsoft’s production company, created in 2012 to make the Xbox a contender in the online streaming market, has already been developing a comedy series Street Dreams, loosely based on the life of hip-hop artist Nas. The company has also made moves to make certain television shows like FX’s Chozen available early on the Xbox One.
Seth Green is set to produce a stop-motion animated show similar to his long-running hit Adult Swim show Robot Chicken. Michael Cera and Sarah Silverman are poised to create a sketch comedy show together. The two are part of the popular YouTube comedy network JASH, which combines the creative efforts of Silverman, Cera, Reggie Watts, and Tim and Eric. Other series on the Xbox development slate include a reality show about street soccer, two series based on the Halo franchise, and a comedy about pro-skateboarders. Unlike Amazon Prime, which is attempting to compete with video streamers Netflix and Hulu Plus, Microsoft is specifically aiming their shows at the 18-34 male audience, a highly marketable group of consumers and the core demographic of Xbox One users. It will be interesting to see what the suits think the average male viewer thinks is funny. Hopefully it won’t be a series of groin injuries and fart jokes.
Silicon Valley, HBO’s newest original comedy series, premiered last night on the cable behemoth. But if you missed it or if you don’t have HBO, the network is offering the first episode for free viewing. And we’ve lovingly embedded it below.
The series Silicon Valley comes from writer and director Mike Judge, the man who brought us Beavis and Butt-head and Office Space. Judge’s new project is partially based on his experience as an engineer in Silicon Valley, California in the 1980s. The show has a massively stacked cast including Thomas Middleditch, Kumail Nanjiani, T.J. Miller, Martin Starr and Zach Woods.
Check out the premiere episode below and tell us what you think of Silicon Valley!
Celebrated stand-up comedian John Pinette was found dead today in his room at the Sheraton Station Square Hotel in Pittsburgh. He was 50. Pinette, who was famously overweight and who had suffered from liver and heart disease in recent years, died of natural causes, according to Allegheny County medical examiner’s office. The workhorse comedian was in the middle of touring, with no less than 18 live shows scheduled at the time of his death. Pinette’s next scheduled date was the Improv in Ontario, CA on April 10.
Pinette, a Boston native, routinely poked fun at himself in his comedy material, releasing albums and DVDs with titles like Show Me the Buffet, I’m Starvin!, Making Lite of Myself and Still Hungry. He was in the middle of working on another stand-up project at the time of his death. In addition to constantly touring, Pinette has appeared in film and television– everything from the Revenge of the Nerds franchise, The Punisher and, most notably on the Seinfeld series finale in 1998, where his character Howie got mugged.
In August of last year, Pinette reportedly checked into rehab for addiction to prescription pills. He underwent surgery earlier in the year and developed an addiction to prescribed pain pills, according to a press release circulated at the time. Pinette, eventually returned to the stage, however, constantly working on new material to the delight of his massive fanbase. “He should be celebrated for the amazing comedian he was,” his agent Nick Nuciforo said today in a statement after Pinette’s death was confirmed.
Police Academy will reportedly get a reboot produced by recent Peabody Award winners Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele. Talks of a relaunch of the 1980s comedy franchise began four years ago and the smash success of the pair’s Comedy Central sketch show Key & Peele surely played a factor in tapping the comedy duo. The original Police Academy came out in 1984 and released countless sequels throughout the 80′s and early 90′s (well, six sequels, but it seemed countless). It has not been announced whether or not they’d star in the films, but it’s doubtful that such comedic acting abilities will be restricted solely to producing.
Key and Peele star in and produce Key & Peele, which was picked up for a fourth season last fall. Surely they could come up with their own Mahoney-esque misfits. It’s too early to tell, as the script continues to be worked on, but with the buddy cop movies making a comeback at the box office (21 Jump Street and its upcoming sequel, Ride Along, The Heat), New Line may try to cash in on this genre before it falls out of style again, like when Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol fizzled out.
The Tracking Board first reported the news. Check out the original 1984 Police Academy movie trailer below!
In light of David Letterman’s announcement last night that he will retire from Late Show in 2015 — watch the video here — the fine folks at NPR and Fresh Air with Terry Gross, unearthed this excellent interview with Letterman from 1981. The interview on Fresh Air went down after his morning variety show on NBC was canceled and a few months before Late Night with David Letterman premiered.
Although the interview with Terry Gross is far-ranging, one of the more interesting parts, especially given historical context, is when Letterman opines on the best comedians of the time. He lists Bill Cosby and Steve Martin and then describes Jay Leno as “probably the best at observational material.” Who knew the two would become fierce competitors in the world of late night?
Listen to the complete interview below. And if you want to read more highlights, check out the Fresh Air summary.
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