May 21st, 2015

Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer Will Be the First 'Chris Gethard Show' Guests on Fusion

The Chris Gethard Show tapes the very first episode of its Fusion era next week, and now we know the official premiere date, guests, and show topic. TCGS will make its big TV debut on Thursday, May 28th at 10:00pm, and Broad City's Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer will appear as Gethard's very first guests, along with musical guest The Front Bottoms and show topic that's very much in line with TCGS's love for all things weird and misunderstood: "Show Us the Weirdest Thing About Your Body." Check out Gethard's full announcement above.

The 'Cut for Time' Sketches of 'SNL' Season 40

snlloveactuallyWith SNL's 40th season wrapped up, we're taking a look back at the past year to recall the highs, lows, and other memorable moments as the show ended its fourth decade on the air. Here, we discuss a collection of some of the best sketches SNL made this season — the ones that were cut.

Despite the agenda we assume drives Saturday Night Live, its creative process is actually more chaotic than we realize. An episode really is created from scratch in six days: pitch meeting with the host on Monday; all-night writing sessions on Tuesday; table-read on Wednesday; rewrites, rehearsals, and shoots on Thursday and Friday; dress rehearsal and live show on Saturday. At no point in the process does Lorne Michaels declare: "There will be exactly three video sketches, one talk show sketch, one sketch that will offend people, and one dumb song about apples." (Legend has it that late head writer Michael O'Donoghue did at one point spray paint the word "danger" on the wall, but that's pretty vague as far as directives go.) We can watch an episode and infer that the writers wanted to push the envelope or pull punches, but they would claim no agenda other than to throw shit against the wall, see what sticks, and start over again on Monday.

Proof of this chaos are the "cut for time" sketches. These are the sketches that survive the Thunderdome of cuts to the 12-or-so finalists that run during the dress rehearsal, just to be mercilessly dropped last minute. Perhaps they didn't get as big laughs as they did at table read, or they would create too complicated of a wardrobe transition, or the host didn't feel comfortable in them, or "Peripheral Vision Man" ran too long and Lorne made the call halfway through the live broadcast. In the past, these comedy corpses could only reach the light of day via the tales of nostalgic staffers, bonus features on Best-Of DVDs, re-animation in the future by late night hosts, or adaptation into the best sitcom of all time. But now, thanks to the internet, SNL will routinely post online the cut sketches alongside the others (under the less victimizing header "digital exclusive"), immortalizing them for comedy nerds and sites like this one.

The cut sketches from season 40 are a mixed bag — some are brilliant videos that were too long for the lineup, while others are silly character sketches that their episodes were probably better off without. Taken together, these rejects make for an amazing fantasy episode of SNL, like a night of leftovers that tastes even better the second time around. READ MORE


Season 2 of 'BoJack Horseman' Premieres on Netflix in July

Nearly nine months after getting a season 2 renewal, the new season of Raphael Bob-Waksberg's hit animated Netflix series BoJack Horseman finally has a premiere date. According to The Wrap, BoJack's 12-episode second season will debut on the streaming network at midnight on Friday, July 17th. Season 1 wrapped up at the end of August, and season 2 will pick up where it left off, per Netflix's press release:

Will Arnett voices BoJack, the legendary 90’s sitcom star, who has been trying to find his way through a muddle of self-loathing, whisky and failed relationships. Now starring in his dream movie (a biopic of Secretariat), but humbled by the events of last season, BoJack attempts to use his career second wind as a stepladder to a springboard to becoming a newer, better BoJack. But new challenges on set and in his personal life, and the demons of his past make it difficult to shake off the skin of his previous self. If season one of BoJack Horseman is about a character learning he needs to change, the new season is about whether or not he can. It’s a character in a rut, trying to pull out of that rut, and the rut pulling back.

Also, there are lots of surprise guest stars and funny talking animal jokes.

Joe DeRosa and the Importance of Setting Goals

Joe DerosaYou may know Joe DeRosa from his standup career, appearances on The Opie & Anthony Show, acting on Better Call Saul and Louie, or as a writer on The Pete Holmes Show. His own podcast Down With Joe DeRosa explores broad topics with comedian guests. His recent episodes with fellow podcaster Kurt Braunohler are entitled "Emotional Hangs" where the two men speak about the feelings surrounding their growing friendship.

His comedic personality translates into material that is darkly honest and introduces the audience to everything he hates. Nevertheless he is kind and professional to every fan, fellow performer and worker at the club.

I spoke with Joe between shows at The Comedy Bar in Toronto about using podcasting for friendship, missing out on acting in college, and working with a surprisingly funny musician. READ MORE

Conan O'Brien and James Corden Pay Tribute to David Letterman

While they both aired new episodes last night, late night hosts Conan O'Brien and James Corden dedicated moments of their shows to David Letterman, who made his Late Show farewell after 33 years as a television host. O'Brien devoted a portion of his monologue to Dave's influence on his own comedy career and even interrupted his interview with Patton Oswalt at 11:35pm to urge viewers to switch over to CBS, while Corden dedicated several moments to Letterman during The Late Late Show, including a musical opening with Sting, Letterman-style Top Ten list, and special watermelon sign-off. READ MORE

Watch David Letterman Make His 'Late Show' Farewell

After 33 years as a late night host, David Letterman ended a chapter of television history last night with his final Late Show episode. Check out Dave say thank you and good night to the audience for the last time above, then watch clips from the rest of the episode below, including the star-studded Top Ten, special tributes from present and former US presidents as well as The Simpsons and Wheel of Fortune, compilations of past Letterman moments, and a musical sendoff by the Foo Fighters. Thanks, Dave.

UPDATE: The ratings are in: Letterman's final Late Show brought in a total of 13.8 million viewers, making it the most watched episode since its debut season in 1994. READ MORE

'Portlandia's Jonathan Krisel and Graham Wagner Set to Make 'Mermaids in Paradise'

jonathan kriselPortlandia writer/director Jonathan Krisel and writer Graham Wagner have just signed on to adapt Lydia Millet's comic novel Mermaids in Paradise into a movie, their first. Here's the synopsis:

On the grounds of a Caribbean island resort, newlyweds Deb and Chip — our opinionated, skeptical narrator and her cheerful jock husband who's friendly to a fault — meet a marine biologist who says she's sighted mermaids in a coral reef.

As the resort's "parent company" swoops in to corner the market on mythological creatures, the couple joins forces with other adventurous souls, including an ex–Navy SEAL with a love of explosives and a hipster Tokyo VJ, to save said mermaids from the "Venture of Marvels," which wants to turn their reef into a theme park.

Sounds pretty crazy, and squarely in the wheelhouse of two of the brains behind the delightful Portlandia.

All of 'Seinfeld' Is Coming to Hulu on June 24th

Hulu announced earlier this month that every episode of Seinfeld would be coming to the streaming service in June, and now we have the exact date: June 24th. So mark your calendars and get ready to relive some of the very best sitcom comedy of the 90s. At a reported $700,000 per episode that Hulu is paying for the right to stream them, they're betting that a whole lot of you will want to do just that. Don't disappoint them!

A Short History of Opie & Anthony's Jocktober

opie-anthonyEach day in Jocktober, which takes place in October, Opie & Anthony producer Sam Roberts picks a different radio show from around the country and then the show spends an hour diagnosing exactly what makes that oh-so-zany "morning zoo"-style show so shitty. Jocktober is like if Warner Herzog or the Coen Brothers spent a month each year just attacking movies like Paul Blart and Mortdecai — but also explaining the conventions of why they are so bad. Wouldn’t that make the film industry better? Wouldn’t it at least be entertaining? At least one of those things, yes.

Exaggerating the characteristics of drive-time radio, interrogating the conventions of the radio industry, is a way to ask: Why do people act this way? If this sounds familiar to improv people, it should: the goals are exactly the same, they just go about it in different ways. The work of improv is to excavate some truth of a situation and then heighten it to show why it’s funny, like some kind of fiendish archeological dig. Opie and Anthony, on the other hand, prefer to throw the entire situation into a giant rock tumbler to shake the dirt off of it and leave the fossils of truth at the end. Sure, some delicate things might get broken, but if they were that delicate, then how valuable were they in the first place? READ MORE

Netflix Is Releasing the Next Kevin James Movie

Having already gotten into the Adam Sandler business, for better or worse, Netflix is doubling down on idiot manchild comedies by buying the rights to Kevin James' new movie, The True Memoirs Of An International Assassin. Here's the plot:

James, coming off the Paul Blart Mall Cop sequel, puts away the Segway and plays a mild-mannered accountant and would-be author who gets mistaken for a killer-for-hire when his fictional novel about an international assassin is published as a true story. He heads to Belize to escape his sudden celebrity, but gets entangled in an assassination plot. Thrown into a world of real danger, he must find a way to channel his lead character Colt Rodgers and save the day.

Sounds not toooooo dissimilar from the upcoming Paul Feig/Melissa McCarthy action comedy Spy. But hey, I'm sure they'll both be great!!!


Comedy Central Sets Premiere Dates for 'Review', 'Key and Peele', and More

Comedy Central has announced their summer schedule, with the highly anticipated seasons of Review and Key and Peele getting premiere dates as well as new shows Another Period and Why? With Hannibal Buress. Here's what to expect:

Tuesday, June 23:
Another Period (Series Premiere) – 10:30 p.m.

Tuesday, June 30:
The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail (Season Two Premiere) – 12:30 a.m.

Wednesday, July 8:
Key & Peele (New Episodes) – 10:00 p.m.
Why? With Hannibal Buress (Series Premiere) – 10:30 p.m.

Thursday, July 30:
Review (Season Two Premiere) – 10:00 p.m.

Tuesday, September 1:
Drunk History (Season Three Premiere) – 10:30 p.m.

Check out the full press release with show descriptions below: READ MORE

The Episodes of 'SNL' Season 40, Ranked

With SNL's 40th season wrapped up, we're taking a look back at the past year to recall the highs, lows, and other memorable moments as the show ended its fourth decade on the air. Below, we reexamine the 21 episodes of Season 40.

Like any lineup in showbusiness — whether it's a summer movie schedule or a season of Saturday Night Live — tentpoles are crucial. An SNL season may feature a plethora of first-time hosts enjoying their moment in the sun, but it never goes too long before bringing in a seasoned veteran host who can guarantee a win. Recent seasons have been tentpoled by the likes of Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin, Tina Fey, Justin Timberlake, Jimmy Fallon, and Will Ferrell — tried-and-true SNL hall-of-famers who know how to deliver the goods. That left room for a few duds, as well as wild cards like Jon Hamm, Zach Galifianakis, and Melissa McCarthy to sneak in without expectations and join the ranks of all-time great hosts.

That's what made Season 40 such an odd case. Rather than structuring the season with several tentpoles, we were given one big one: the 40th Anniversary Special in February, which showcased all of the aforementioned regulars, and then some. The anniversary was a thrilling and emotional climax for the show, but its magnitude cast an inevitable shadow on the season that contained it. SNL watchers always let our nostalgia for past generations blind us from the present, but here was a three-and-a-half hour highlight reel of everything we once loved about the show, with hardly any of those highlights coming from the recent era. There was plenty of retrospect, but little prospect. For example, it's hard to credit Colin Jost and Michael Che with the undeniable progress they've made behind the Weekend Update desk after a parade of greats like Chevy Chase, Jane Curtin, Dennis Miller, Kevin Nealon, Norm Macdonald, Jimmy Fallon, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Seth Meyers. It's like college basketball player having a solid opening game, with Jordan dunking at halftime.

The star-studded anniversary also dried up the pool of tentpole hosts (with no Five-Timers Club members this year), leaving well-liked but less-proven regulars Bill Hader, Jim Carrey, Dwayne Johnson, and Louis CK to prop up the season. They did… mostly. Between a few pleasant surprises from first-timers (Martin Freeman) and old-timers (Woody Harrelson), the episodes this season rarely left people buzzing in the days that followed.

Below is a ranking of the episodes this season (not including the 40th Anniversary Special, which was less an episode of SNL than an extended circle-jerk). As with last year's ranking, we measured episode quality by asking ourselves a few questions: What, if anything, was memorable about this episode? Were the sketches clear, funny, unique concepts, or were they the same predictable bits we're tired of seeing? Did the host complement the cast, with sketches that made good use of his/her skills? And finally, did the episode contain any awful sketches about a bickering old couple waiting for an Uber? READ MORE

Watch Jimmy Kimmel's Tearful, Heartfelt Tribute to David Letterman

Jimmy Kimmel grew up obsessed with David Letterman, and he says that he owes the man and his show his entire career. He's going to far as to run a rerun tonight so as to not compete with Dave's final show. Last night, Kimmel gave a heartfelt speech about just how much Letterman means to him. And if you'll excuse me, I have something in my eye.

On the Rise with Lauren Lapkus

laurenlapkusA force in the Chicago improv community, Lauren Lapkus moved to Los Angeles a little over five years ago to make a name for herself. And boy has she. From sitcoms, to guest appearances on some of the funniest comedy shows, to her own popular podcast and role in the upcoming Jurassic World, this woman knows how to work it. A fantastic improviser, her characters and dedication to the craft have proven to be the right recipe to make it in this town. I talked to Lapkus about her upcoming projects, what she’s learned along the way, and how she’s juggling it all.

Your podcast With Special Guest Lauren Lapkus is so funny. Tell me about it. How did it come about?

Well, I’d been doing guest spots on a bunch of different podcasts on Earwolf for a while. Mostly Comedy Bang Bang which is how I first got started over there, improv4humans, and pretty much most of the other shows over there I feel like I’ve been on at one point or another. Eventually they came to me and said, “Do you want to do a podcast and what would you do?” I think it was just part of becoming a part of the family slowly over time.

Was the concept an idea you already had?

I didn’t know what I wanted to do and my husband and I were talking and basically I was like, “Well, I don’t really like hosting stuff” and he was the one that helped me come up with the concept of me always being the guest and never having to host. (laughing) So it worked out perfectly.

That’s a smart way to do it.

Yeah, it’s really fun getting to do that and be in control and also be out of control at the same time. Because my host is the one who gets to decide what’s going to happen or what the show is. They decide my character as well. I really don’t know anything going in, but that’s how I like it. READ MORE