Splitsider

August 28th, 2014

Watch Amazon's Three New Comedy Pilots

Amazon has released its next batch of pilots up for consideration on Amazon Instant Video today, including three comedies from Whit Stillman, Jay Chandrasekhar, and Steven Soderberg. Here's a description of each show:

  • The Cosmopolitans: Written, directed, and produced by Whit Stillman, The Cosmopolitans follows "a group of young American expatriates in Paris searching for love and friendship in a foreign city." The pilot stars Adam Brody, Chloë Sevigny, Carrie MacLemore, Dree Hemingway, Freddy Åsblom, Shaun Evans, and Adriano Giannini.
  • Really: Written, directed, and starring Broken Lizard's Jay Chandrasekhar, Really follows a group of thirtysomething friends in Chicago led by Chandrasekhar as a "happily, messily married neurologist Jed" and Sarah Chalke as "lawyer/mom Lori." Cast also includes Selma Blair, Luka Jones, Travis Schuldt, Lindsay Sloane, Hayes Macarthur, and Collette Wolfe.
  • Red Oaks: Directed by Pineapple Express and Eastbound and Down's David Gordon Green and produced by Steven Soderbergh, Red Oaks is an '80s-set coming-of-age comedy starring Craig Roberts as a college student who lands a summer job as an assistant tennis pro at a suburban New Jersey country club. Paul Reiser, Richard Kind, Jennifer Grey, and Oliver Cooper also star.

Click through to watch a sizzle reel of the new pilots up for consideration, then head over to Amazon to watch each pilot here, here, and here. READ MORE

Is 'Modern Family' Really the Best-Directed Comedy on TV?

modern-family-vegasOn Monday night, Gail Mancuso took home the Emmy for “Outstanding Direction for a Comedy Series” for her work the Modern Family season five episode “Las Vegas.” This was Mancuso’s second win in a row and the show’s fourth win in a row in this category. This year, Mancuso beat out Comedy Film School favorites Louis C.K. and Lena Dunham as well as seasoned film directors Jodie Foster (for Orange is the New Black) and Mike Judge (for Silicon Valley). Looking even further back, the last time a network show director, in which directing is historically more like house-painting than Picasso, lost to a cable director is in 2004, when Curb Your Enthusiasm took home the prize for HBO (however I will not besmirch the Emmy voters’ 2004 selection of Barry Sonnenfeld's Pushing Daisies pilot for ABC, which is one of the most visually inventive and exciting pieces of television I have ever seen). This all begs the question of what are Emmy voters looking for in comedy directing, and why, year after year, as television directing gets more and more interesting and “filmic”, are the voters rewarding merely proficient directing over shows with more artful or at least with the most directing? READ MORE

Help Chris O'Dowd Make a Hot Air Balloon Shaped Like Peter Griffin's Testicles

It's for cancer awareness, not that you needed a reason. The Daily Dot reports that Chris O'Dowd has teamed up with British charity Male Cancer Awareness Campaign for their new Indiegogo campaign called "Skyballs" to "build, launch and tour the world in a hot-air balloon shaped like a giant pair of testicles." More specifically, the testicles will take on the shape of that of Family Guy's Peter Griffin, and they will tour around the world next year to celebrate MCAC's 10th anniversary and also serve as an obvious reminder to the men down below to "act on the early warning signs of male cancers."

The Indiegogo campaign still has 48 days left, and there are tons of goodies for backers from a "tea-bagger mug" to a "Peter Griffin chinballs t-shirt" to a VIP flight in the "Skyballs" balloon. Click through to watch the campaign video starring O'Dowd. READ MORE

How to Succeed at Edinburgh Fringe with Alex Edelman

Alex
Alex Edelman has had an excellent August. The American comic headed to the Edinburgh Fringe with his debut show, Millennial, and on Saturday, he walked away with the coveted Best Newcomer Award at the Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Awards. Past winners include stars like The Mighty Boosh, Tim Minchin, and Sarah Millican, and it means the eye of the British comedy industry has turned to the 25-year-old New Yorker. I caught up with him after his win in Edinburgh to talk about previewing his show in London, his American style, and being transatlantic.

So why did you decide to come to Edinburgh this year?

I had sort of been invited by accident in 2012. I got cast in a play here, and so I was sort of revealed to this world of thousands of comedy shows. In New York, there's lot of stage time but it's hard to get on, and here, I was getting on seven or eight times a day for 15 minutes and making some money from it, and so why wouldn't you come to this thing? And so I came back last year and ran one of those shows, where you can get 15 minutes, and I did 25 minutes at the end of it, and around the end of the run, I started to realize that I had the makings of a show. And this producer for the BBC spotted me last year, and they put me on one of their showcases, and after that I had a bunch of offers for management, and so I signed with someone who I really liked and who was gonna bring me back the next year, and pay for the run, because the run can be quite expensive. They were tremendous producers, and the show was in good shape, and so the Pleasance was on board, and I guess everyone sort of lined up — venue, PR, producer, performer — and so it seemed sort of like the perfect storm of being able to do an hour of standup every day.

And I ran that compilation show again, and so I've been able to do a couple of shows a day at least. I haven't had a single day where I've done less than five shows, and they're different kinds of comedic muscles that you can't really flex at home. Like, there's “Set List”, which is something that I love doing here, and there's different kinds of improv games than you'd find at even the most wild of indie improv nights, like there's a show called “Voices in Your Head”, where someone directs your improv from the back. All these different octaves of the comedy piano seem like irresistible to me, and so I really wanted to come back. And also, there are a lot of comedians here, and it's sort of a chance to test your mettle. So that's why. READ MORE

SNL

Alison Rich Hired as a Writer at 'SNL'

The debut of Saturday Night Live's 40th season is just around the corner, and the show has hired a new writer to its staff with the addition of Alison Rich. Rich got her start at UCB in New York, won the UCB NBC Diversity Showcase in 2012, and recently moved to Los Angeles to perform in the CBS Diversity Showcase as well as on the UCBLA Maude Team Tut. She also won the IFC "Out of the Box" development deal at the New York Television Festival last year for her web series Incognito co-created with current Late Night writer Andrew Law, and she appears in the upcoming Elizabeth Banks-produced web series Resident Advisors as well as Peaked, an MTV web series she co-created and wrote with Nicole Byer. Her credits include writing for Billy on the Street and appearing on Best Week Ever, Bunk, and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

Click through to check out some of Rich's work. READ MORE

Fox Is Developing a Comedy Based on Weezer Frontman Rivers Cuomo's Life

Weezer's frontman Rivers Cuomo might be getting the Fox sitcom treatment. THR reports that the network has given a put-pilot commitment to DeTour, a single-cam comedy from Psych creator Steve Franks that will focus on "a 30-something rock star who, unable to rationalize his success and worried that he may not have the tools to repeat it, walks away from the spotlight at the height of his fame in an effort to rediscover the parts of his life he missed while he was busy becoming a massive success." The series will be loosely based on Cuomo's life but star a fictional character "and the small band of misfit friends that make it possible." Weezer's new album Everything Will be Alright in the End is set for an October 7th release.

Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, and Lisa Kudrow Act Out 'Friends' Fan Fiction with Jimmy Kimmel

On last night's Jimmy Kimmel Live, Kimmel told guest Jennifer Aniston that he had written some Friends fan fiction and asked if she'd be willing to act it out with him. What resulted was a live reading in an impressive replica of Rachel's kitchen starring Aniston, Courtney Cox, and Lisa Kudrow, with Kimmel starring as Ross in a world where all the other men on Friends have been killed off.

Today's Funniest Tweets

Steve Carell Is Set to Star in a 'Looney Tunes' Movie

Steve Carell is set to lead an in-the-works Looney Tunes movie. THR reports that Carell — who stars alongside Channing Tatum in the upcoming drama Foxcatcher — has signed on to star in an untitled film centered on the fictional Acme Corporation from the Looney Tunes cartoons from X-Men: First Class writing team Ashley Miller and Zach Stentz. The Lego Movie producers Dan Lin and Roy Lee are also behind the project, with Glenn Ficarra and John Requa — who also directed Carell in Crazy Stupid Love — in negotiations to co-direct. Plot details on the Acme movie are being kept under wraps, but it will "not center on the Looney Tunes characters and is being planned as a CG/live-action hybrid."

FX Orders Zach Galifianakis and Louis C.K.'s 'Baskets' to Series

Earlier this year it was reported that Zach Galifianakis had teamed up with Louis C.K. and Jonathan Krisel to co-write and star in a new FX pilot, and today Variety reports that the project has now been given a series order. Titled Baskets, the series will follow Galifianakis as a man named Chip Baskets "who leaves his job in the corporate world to pursue his dreams of becoming a respected clown."

Baskets is part of C.K.'s multi-year development deal with FX to create and produce new shows. While this is awesome news, don't get too excited yet — production on the 10-episode debut season will begin sometime next year, and the season isn't slated to premiere on FX until sometime in 2016.

Sasheer Zamata Gives Girls Some Serious Advice for 'Rookie'

Rookie released a new installment of its ongoing web series Ask a Grown Woman yesterday featuring SNL's Sasheer Zamata, who fields a few questions from teenage girls about sex, relationships, racism, and how to deal with sexual harassment on the street: "Harassment shouldn't hinder your progress 'cause you have things to do — you gotta go learn, you gotta go work, you gotta go take care of yourself and keep being fabulous — and if you keep thinking about the people who are harassing you, then they win."

This Week In Web Videos: 'Fruiting 101'


I'm not one of those people that thinks sex is inherently funny. In fact, I hate those people. Sex, comedically speaking, is easy. It gets a laugh in the most low-brow of rooms, amongst folks who couldn't give a goddamn about the craft but love hearing the word "pussy" repeated ad infinitum. To make sex truly funny, the bar should be set higher. In order for sex jokes to hit they need to be innovative, new, driven by some goal other than shock. Inspired by Auntie Angel's unintentionally hilarious guide to putting a grapefruit on your man's dick, Lily Du and David Craig created a pitch perfect Internet parody called Fruiting 101. Its intentionally reaching treatment of dick jokes as a comedy cure-all is what makes it meta and great, and its very modest production value should be an inspiration to every comedy creator reading this column. All you need is a funny idea and a camera! And, depending on your situation, some hollowed out foods to put on your man's dick.

Luke is a writer for CollegeHumor and a watcher of many web videos. Send him yours @LKellyClyne.

Vanessa Bayer Has a Public Meltdown While Interviewing Sara Bareilles

Above Average released a new episode of Sound Advice today with Sara Bareilles, and it looks like Janessa Slater has finally found her match. Usually the guests on Sound Advice take her constant insults in stride, but Bareilles is not afraid to get edgy with some swear words if she has to.

Watch Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert Sing "The Obvious Song" at Second City in 1993

Welcome to The Second City Archives, in which we post an exclusive clip each week of some of comedy's biggest superstars performing early in their careers on the legendary Chicago stage. Second City has generously given us a glimpse into their extensive archive of live performances, and over the coming weeks we'll be sharing some rare and retro comedy never before seen on the web.

This week we're debuting a newly unearthed clip from Second City's 1993 revue Take Me Out to the Balkans featuring ensemble performers Fran Adams, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, Paul Dinello, David Razowsky, Ruth Rudnick, and Amy Sedaris. In the above clip, Carell, Colbert (who doubled as Carell's understudy), Dinello, and Razowsky perform a catchy tune called "The Obvious Song" that's as funny as it is harmonious. This took place less than ten years before both Carell and Colbert hit it big on television with The Dana Carvey Show, The Daily Show, and in the case of Colbert, Dinello, and Sedaris, Exit 57 and Strangers with Candy. Little did they know that 20 years later Carell would be crossing over into big-screen drama while Colbert would be chosen as the heir to the Late Show throne.