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November 21st, 2014

This Week in Comedy: Some Cancellations, Some New Shows Born

themillers-CBS canceled The Millers, AMC passed on its first comedy pilot We Hate Paul Revere, and TV Land’s Hot in Cleveland will end after season six.

-SNL had its best episode of the season so far with host Woody Harrelson, and we broke down the show’s best sketches.

-On WTF this week John Mulaney and Marc Maron talked SNL, standup, and Mulaney.

-Austin Rodrigues thought a lot about bits.

-Rob Riggle will star in the adaptation of German sitcom Braunschlag that Fox is developing, Billy Eichner and Julie Klausner’s Difficult People was ordered to series by Hulu, American Dad! was renewed by TBS for a 12th season, The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore premieres on Comedy Central January 19th, Nick Stoller is writing a Tinkerbell comedy to star Melissa McCarthy, and Will Forte’s Last Man on Earth premieres on Fox on March 1st. READ MORE

Tina Fey's Show 'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt' Is Moving from NBC to Netflix

Great news for Tina Fey fans: While Fox passed on Fey's show Cabot College, her NBC show starring Ellie Kemper is making a move to streaming. Deadline reports that the Fey and Robert Carlock-created Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (previously titled Tooken) has now moved from NBC to Netflix with a two-season commitment. The first season will premiere on the streaming network in March 2015. Here's what NBC exec Robert Greenblatt said on the announcement:

"When the opportunity arose for Tina Fey and Robert Carlock to premiere their new show on Netflix with a two-season commitment, we decided this was the best possible scenario to launch this captivating new series. While it was originally developed for NBC, we have a very drama-heavy mid-season schedule so we’re thrilled about this Netflix opportunity; it’s an instant win-win for everyone, including Tina, Robert, and Universal Television. We’re already talking to these extraordinary creators about new development for NBC, but meanwhile, everyone here from Universal Television will do everything possible to see that Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt becomes a long-running hit on Netflix."

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Adam Pally Is Leaving 'The Mindy Project' Early Next Year

Fox's The Mindy Project is losing a series regular. TV Line reports that Adam Pally is set to leave the show in early 2015. Pally has been a regular Mindy Project star since he debuted as Dr. Peter Prentice in season 2. While he will likely make "occasional guest appearances" after his contract ends next year, he has plenty of other projects in the works between his development deal with ABC Studios and upcoming film roles in Search Party, Night Owls, and Bad Boys Crazy Girls.

Learn About New York City's Many Accents with Fred Armisen

Accent master Fred Armisen performed at a charity benefit Wednesday night, and as part of his routine he devoted nearly five minutes to speaking in different NYC accents suggested by the audience. Covered in this clip alone is Washington Heights, Upper East Side, Upper West Side, West Village, East Village, Bronx, Astoria, Brooklyn, Rockaway, and Long Island, where Armisen spent most of his childhood years: "If you wanna do Long Island, the way to think of it is like, they're already being defensive about being made fun of."

Spike TV Orders 'Lip Sync Battle' Series from Jimmy Fallon, John Krasinski, and Stephen Merchant

Triumph the Insult Comic Dog isn't the only late night bit to get its own television show. THR reports that Spike TV has ordered a series called Lip Sync Battle based on the hit recurring segment on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. The series is executive produced by Fallon, John Krasinski, and Stephen Merchant — who are also set to perform — and will begin taping in New York in January with a premiere date set for April 2, 2015. No host has been announced yet.

Click through for one of the best "Lip Sync Battle" segments ever featuring Paul Rudd performing "Don't Stop Me Now": READ MORE

Talking to @Carl_Bnntt About Simple Tweets with Human Elements

Carl_Bnntt photo
Carl Bennett, known on Twitter as @Carl_Bnntt, uses the platform to address a lot of different topics. For instance, he shares his knowledge of fine art, opines about the world's obsession with sports, and never shies away from addressing mortality. When asked for information for a bio, Bennett simply responded he “has no family (deceased) to speak of and distributes Storage Wars revisionist literature.” Bennett also showed me three of his favorite tweets and told me a bit more about them, and we talked about the kinds of people he interacts with on Twitter and how tweeting can serve as a reminder of human error.

Bennett: It took almost 24 years to write this but I feel that it efficiently pays tribute to all the wonderful memories I have of my dead cousin. He was more than just an arm sticking out of a leaf pile; he was my cousin, and he had a name. READ MORE

Public Access Producer Smith Took Over 'The Chris Gethard Show' This Week

Last month, an incident occurred on The Chris Gethard Show with a public access producer known only as Smith (played by comedian Brett Davis) who interrupted the show with complaints about TCGS and some personal digs at Gethard. For this week's show, Gethard's time slot on the Manhattan Neighborhood Network was overtaken by Smith for the debut episode of his own stuffy conspiracy show Truth or Myth with Smith, and the result is a hilarious hourlong look into Smith's twisted mind. I'm not sure which part is my favorite — the intense panel debate about 9/11, an overabundance of references to zinc, Smith singing "Brown Eyed Girl" with his band from college, or the terrifying twist ending — but in any case, Truth or Myth with Smith is the ultimate example of committing to a joke. (Check out Davis and Gethard's blog posts for more on the episode.)

Video Game Comedy Is Hard, But it's Getting Easier

stanleyparableRecently, I revisited one of my favorite games from last year, The Stanley Parable. Developed by Davey Wreden and released for Steam, it’s a bit difficult to describe the game in brief (particularly since half the fun is just diving into it), but basically, it’s structured like a choose-your-own-adventure story. You assume the role of Stanley, a faceless drone who leaves his office one day to discover all his co-workers have gone missing.

As you move through the office to investigate, the Narrator, brilliantly played by Kevan Brighting, comments on your actions and surroundings and, crucially, speculates on your next move. For instance, when you come to two open doors, he says you’ll move through the door on the left. You can choose to follow the narrator’s instructions, or you can choose to ignore him and go your own way — each of the several choices the game presents offers its own branching path, each with a different ending.

The Stanley Parable succeeds in accomplishing a lot of things, and one of those is to be frequently, uniquely hilarious. All dry, scathing wit, the Narrator becomes befuddled and combative when you disobey him, scrambling to lure you back into his story and play the game he’s so lovingly laid out for you. In other words, the game finds its humor by reacting to your choices and movements.

If that doesn’t sound so remarkable to you, it’s because it sounds so obvious. Of course a game would get laughs by reacting to what you do. After all, doing things and making choices is how games work. But that’s just it. Something like this is enormously difficult to pull off, since the thing that makes games such a difficult medium for comedy is also the thing that distinguishes it from other media: interactivity. READ MORE

Will Forte's 'Last Man on Earth' Premieres on Fox March 1st

Fox announced a new round of TV premiere dates yesterday, and on the slate is SNL alum Will Forte's one-man comedy The Last Man on Earth. Forte created and stars in the show, which is produced by 22 Jump Street and Lego Movie duo Phil Lord and Chris Miller. The Last Man on Earth will debut on Sunday, March 1st at 9:00pm with a special one-hour premiere, when Bob's Burgers will move back to its regular 7:30pm time slot. Freshman sitcom Mulaney recently switched time slots with Bob's Burgers, but its shortened 13-episode season will finish prior to the premiere of Forte's show.

Check out a trailer for Last Man on Earth below: READ MORE

Remembering Mike Nichols the Performer

129 - Nichols and May
As you no doubt already heard, yesterday marked the passing of a man the media has aptly named an “entertainment icon” by the name of Mike Nichols. Mike earned his icon status by performing just about every major task one can perform in the modern creative arts, working as a comedian, a director, a producer, and a writer. He will be best known as the director of such films as The Graduate, for which he won an Oscar, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Catch-22, Angels in America, Working Girl, and many others. But today, we dip into the archives and take a look at the first job Nichols performed that brought him to national attention: that of one half of the comedy duo Nichols & May. READ MORE

'Conan' Visits a Conscientious Tofurkey Farm

If you want to celebrate Thanksgiving by opting for tofurkey instead of the real thing, Conan visited McClellan Farms recently, and no one makes a more ethically acceptable tofurkey product than them. So before you choose your tofurkey brand this holiday season, please consider McClellan, because it's not humane tofurkey unless it's breastfed three times a day.

Stephen Merchant Tells Jimmy Fallon About His Brush with Ebola in Norway

Here's a clip from last night's Tonight Show with guest Stephen Merchant, who tells Fallon about his recent guest spot on a late night show in Norway in which he was a guest alongside a novelist, a brain scientist, and a woman recovering from Ebola. Thankfully Merchant survived the ordeal.

Watch Stephen Colbert Interview His Former Boss Jon Stewart


Stephen Colbert has never had a better match with an interview guest than he did during last night's show, when his former Daily Show boss and current Colbert Report executive producer Jon Stewart dropped by to promote his new movie Rosewater and remind Stephen: "I've heard about you. I know you try and nail people. You're not nailing me, my friend." Watch the second part of the interview below: READ MORE

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