September 22nd, 2014

Chicago Comedy and Theater Great Sheldon Patinkin Dies at 79

The Chicago theater and comedy community lost a big name yesterday with the news that Sheldon Patinkin, who mentored countless performers and directors and was an icon of the Second City community, died at age 79. Patinkin worked as the chair of Columbia College Chicago's theater department and as an artistic consultant at both Second City and Steppenwolf Theatre. He is regarded as a beloved mentor, teacher, and pioneer of the city's improvisational community for over 50 years and also chronicled the history of Second City in the 2000 book Second City: Backstage at the World's Greatest Comedy Theater. Here's an official statement from Second City CEO and Executive Producer Andrew Alexander:

"We are heartbroken to learn of the sudden death of Sheldon Patinkin. Beginning as a bar manager at The Second City in 1959, Sheldon became our artistic conscience as director and artistic consultant. He has worked with Second City casts and directors for the past 55 years; most recently giving notes and consulting on The Second City e.t.c.’s Apes of Wrath. His work expanded beyond The Second City and he became a prolific director and educator. He was a beloved mentor to thousands. His legacy is exponential and we are so proud to have also called him a friend."

Click through to read just some of Patinkin's many students and admirers' remembrances on Twitter: READ MORE

Inside 'Marry Me,' 'Hotwives,' and 'Drunk History' with Tymberlee Hill

tymberleehillHaving to transition from being an eccentric sitcom neighbor to a reality show housewife to any number of historical figures as filtered by intoxicated comedians would normally make for a serious case of mental whiplash, but it’s no issue for the incredibly talented and incredibly funny Tymberlee Hill. The Virginia Beach native began her career as a classically trained stage actress before making the completely accidental switch to comedy after her move to LA. A few chance performances at UCB have since led to roles as the insanely entrepreneurial Phe Phe on the Hulu exclusive The Hotwives of Orlando, as a frequent player on Comedy Central’s Drunk History, and as Casey Wilson and Ken Marino’s crazy friend on the upcoming NBC sitcom Marry Me from Happy Endings creator David Caspe.

I recently had the chance to talk to Tymberlee about her work in one of her busiest years yet, her Broadway aspirations, and why we should all be excited for next month’s premiere of Marry Me.

So, how are you? What’s going on?

Oh my gosh, well, I think everything is going on! We’ve got the show up and running. We’re shooting it non-stop. That’s what’s happening! Marry Me non-stop.

Well, in your Twitter profile you describe yourself as “the hardest working brown in the biz,” and that seems especially true of you this past year. Has it been a particularly crazy time in your career?

It has! It’s been nuts, that sort of all of a sudden, y’know… We started with Hotwives around November of last year and then we had reshoots into the new year, into 2014, which coincided with me shooting Drunk History, which coincided with me shooting Marry Me. So at one point, for like a week in March, I was shooting all three of them. READ MORE

Watch the Latest Trailer for Seth Rogen's New Movie 'The Interview'

Seth Rogen's new movie The Interview has been given a new premiere date, new edits, and now a new trailer, which features Rogen and James Franco leaving their Hollywood gig to interview and ultimately assassinate Kim Jong-un. Hopefully when the North Korean leader finally sees the full movie he gives it two out of three missiles.

John Oliver Hosts a Beauty Pageant with Kathy Griffin on 'Last Week Tonight'

Here's a clip from last night's episode of Last Week Tonight, in which John Oliver breaks down the Miss America Pageant — or as they prefer to be known, "the world's largest provider of scholarships for women." Oliver decided to investigate the pageant's claims of providing $45 million in scholarship money each year then decided to host his very own beauty pageant with a little help from Kathy Griffin.

This Week in Comedy: 'SNL' Adds a New Announcer and Featured Player

-SNL hired Darrell Hammond as its new announcer and new featured player Pete Davidson.

-SNL’s October 11th host is Bill Hader, and Jim Carrey will reportedly host an episode this year to promote Dumb and Dumber To.

-On the Daily Show Jon Stewart gave Michael Che the perfect goodbye.

-Cecily Strong said she was “genuinely happy” about leaving Weekend Update.

-We discussed how FX’s You’re the Worst has quietly become the best new comedy on television.

-We interviewed Gary Gulman who is on the road promoting his new special It’s About Time.

-Tim Gilbert got weird in Toronto.

-Bill Connolly shared how there are business lessons in the world of improv.

-We looked at what it means to direct an Adam Sandler movie.

-We explored the hidden racist past of the Looney Toons.

-We took a look back in time when Bill Cosby helped launch Joan Rivers’ comedy career.

-John Swartzwelder’s failed 1996 pilot Pistol Pete showed up online in full. READ MORE

Here's a Teaser for Channel 4's New Comedy 'Scrotal Recall'

If you're wondering what kind of sitcoms are premiering over in the UK this fall, here's a particularly intriguing teaser for a new Channel 4 series that deserves a standing ovation for the title alone: Scrotal Recall. The show will follow a man named Dylan Witter (played by musician Johnny Flynn), "a lovelorn young guy forced to seek out his ex-girlfriends when he's diagnosed with chlamydia. In each episode, Dylan will set out to find a different girl from his past, as he tries to make sense of all his romantic missteps from over the years." Sure, the title was probably conceived before the plot, but it will definitely give Canada's Schitt's Creek a run for its money. (via Digital Spy UK)

Pauly Shore's Road Documentary Premieres on Showtime December 4th

Pauly Shore is headed to Showtime. Deadline reports that the pay cable network has picked up Shore's documentary Pauly Shore Stands Alone to premiere on December 4th. Directed by and starring Shore, the documentary follows the actor and comedian during a standup tour across the Midwest "while grappling with aging, fading fame and his relationship with his Parkinson’s-suffering mother, Comedy Store founder Mitzi Shore." On the inspiration for the film, Shore told Deadline: "Down to my core of who I am, I’m a standup comic. A lot of comics go through personal things and have to put on a smile. I’m always doing schtick – I’m a comic, obviously. I wanted to show a side of me that wasn’t doing any schtick and this was the first time I let that schtick down." Shore also recently started a podcast called Pauly Shore's Interested, which we reviewed this week.

Check out the trailer for Pauly Shore Stands Alone below: READ MORE


Jim Carrey Is Reportedly Returning to Host 'SNL' This Year

Saturday Night Live's landmark 40th season is shaping up to be filled with some great hosts. The Wrap is reporting that Jim Carrey is set to return to host his third episode sometime this season. While the exact date is not yet known and NBC has yet to confirm the news, insiders told The Wrap that Carrey's episode will most likely air close to the premiere of Dumb and Dumber To on November 14th. Confirmed hosts that will appear prior to Carrey include Chris Pratt and former SNL cast members Sarah Silverman and Bill Hader.

Watch some of Carrey's best SNL sketches from his 1996 and 2011 episodes below: READ MORE

Watch Seth Rogen, Jerrod Carmichael, Ike Barinholtz, and More in the 'Neighbors' Gag Reel

Nicholas Stoller's Neighbors was released on DVD and Blu-ray this week, and here's the full gag reel from the film featuring Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Dave Franco, Rose Byrne, Jerrod Carmichael, Lisa Kudrow, and Ike Barinholtz, not to mention a small cameo from a terrifying flying insect.

Watch Conan O'Brien Hand Out Some Audiencey Awards

Proving that no late night host cares more about his studio audience, Conan O'Brien doled out some Audiencey Awards during last night's Conan to display his appreciation for all the excellent sitters, clappers, and viewers out there. Watch the second part below featuring Conan's no-nonsense prop master Bill Tull: READ MORE

'Simpsons' Executive Producer Al Jean Teases Season 26 and the Show's Future

With the hit FXX Simpsons marathon and live Hollywood Bowl event now complete, the next source of Simpsons anticipation will be which character is killed off during the season 26 premiere as well as how long we can expect the show to keep churning out new episodes on Fox. In a recent interview with Deadline, executive producer Al Jean gave a few teases for the new season as well as his thoughts on the future of the show: As for which character will be killed off during the season premiere "Clown in the Dumps," Jean commented on some fans' prediction that Krusty will be getting the axe: "We gave it that title for a reason; some have guessed (the character's death) correctly, and some are really off." Unlike the death and resurrection of Brian on Family Guy, however, Jean insisted that it's the real thing: "When we kill 'em, they stay dead."

Jean also described next season's Halloween episode as broken down into three segments: "'School in Hell,' inspired by the work of Neil Gaiman; then there's a Stanley Kubrick-inspired Clockwork Orange segment; and then there's a sequence where the Simpsons meet their Tracey Ullman selves." When asked about how much longer The Simpsons plans to run on Fox, Jean said: "We could last two more years, maybe four, maybe more. No one has talked to us about wrapping the show."

Talking to @AveryMonsen about Twitter, Vine, and Photoshopping Stupid Ideas

avery monsenAvery Monsen is a writer, illustrator, and actor living in Los Angeles. He illustrated and co-wrote the book All My Friends Are Dead, wrote for the third season of Billy on the Street, and has performed at UCB in New York. And, as mentioned in a recent article on this site about the short-format comedy of Instagram and Vine, another thing about Monsen is that he’s really good at Vine. I recently talked with Monsen about three of his favorite tweets, what it’s like being on Vine, and the kinds of dumb things that people post and like on Twitter.

Monsen: I love that we’re living in a time where we can come up with a stupid idea, make it, and share it with thousands of strangers, all within a few minutes. For example: I thought it’d be funny to Photoshop pictures of celebrities riding bikes so it’d look like they were riding delicious Subway sandwiches. That’s a stupid idea, yes. I made "Usher Rides A Meatball Sub," "Owen Wilson Rides A Bacon, Egg & Cheese On Flatbread” and then got bored and stopped. Classic comedy Rule of Twos. READ MORE

"But it's a genre that's near and dear to my heart, and I just thought that there's a freedom in British sitcoms for characters to not always be 'broadcast likable,' and thus I thought it would be a nice way to take a show like Mad About You and update it in terms of how young society behaves now and also to bring in some characters that are actually kind of shitheads at times. It's a tall order to make people fall in love with people who are kind of dicks, but I thought it would be worth trying, and I think it has been."

- Creator of FX's hit new series You're the Worst Stephen Falk explains his love for the romantic comedy genre and the British approach to likability in an interview with The A.V. Club.

Lorne Michaels Asks 'What's It All About, World?'

123 - What's it All About WorldThe Paley Center for Media, which has locations in both New York and LA, dedicates itself to the preservation of television and radio history. Inside their vast archives of more than 150,000 television shows, commercials, and radio programs, there are thousands of important and funny programs waiting to be rediscovered by comedy nerds like you and me. Each week, this column will highlight a new gem waiting for you at the Paley Library to quietly laugh at. (Seriously, it’s a library, so keep it down.)

If you were a young person and you were into anti-establishment humor, then the late 1960s were a great time for you. You had Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In socking it to Nixon every week on NBC. Flip the dial over to CBS and you had The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. It was a great time to be young, alive, and vaguely angry with the government. But what about the other side? Shouldn’t the right wing have their own lighthearted entertainment/variety show? Enter ABC with What’s It All About, World?

I don’t know what to make of What’s It All About, World? It aired for thirteen weeks, beginning in February 6, 1969 under two different names. Halfway through it’s run it decided to drop the whole satire thing and just turned into a regular variety show. Famed writer Harlan Ellison, who was at the time working for The Los Angeles Free Press as a television critic referred to the show as “a right-wing attempt to prove how good things are these days. It might more appropriately be titled The Establishment Strikes Back.” However, hidden among the writing staff are a handful of folks who would go on to create some very different comedy. We have Avery Schreiber, one half of Burns and Schreiber and longtime improviser with The Second City, and then another duo consisting of two fellows by the name of Hart Pomerantz and Lorne Michaels. Yes, that Lorne Michaels. READ MORE