A day after announcing the development of three new comedy series, ABC has added yet another with THR's report that the network has given a put-pilot commitment to a medical comedy called Family Practice. Written by doctor/writer Simon Stephenson — who wrote an episode of the UK series Eleventh Hour as well as a memoir Let Not the Waves of the Sea — the comedy "centers on a dysfunctional family of doctors who run a family practice in small town America." Stephenson will executive produce alongside Dan Fogelman, who is also serving as an EP on an in-the-works ABC comedy series based on the life of Carson Daly.
Last night's Chris Gethard Show started out with an innocent concept: Bring 200 kazoos to the Manhattan Neighborhood Network studio and see what happens. Things took an unexpected turn when Gethard called out an MNN producer (he called himself only "Smith") who was brooding nearby during the taping, which ultimately turned into an ugly confrontation over why Smith, and allegedly other MNN members, can't stand TCGS: "You're using a public platform to further your own narcissism." It gets more and more awkward with each dig Smith makes at TCGS — which he calls "an ad for unemployment" and "the Party City show" — but the whole thing devolves into chaos at the end when Smith trips over a seated audience member and snaps.
UPDATE: Turns out this was a very Kaufman-esque stunt pulled by comedian Brett Davis — and a very well played one at that. Can we ever trust the new and improved TCGS again? As long as they keep pulling off hilariously bizarre moments like the one above, it's all good.
Jerry Seinfeld's Crackle web series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee returns with a new round of episodes on November 6th with guests like Jimmy Fallon, Amy Schumer, Kevin Hart, and Fred Armisen, and today the streaming network released a tense teaser video featuring Seinfeld's old TV neighbor Michael Richards as the cigar-sucking Crackle president Dick Corcoran.
The comedy podcast universe is ever expanding, not unlike the universe universe. We're here to make it a bit smaller, a bit more manageable. There are a lot of great shows and each has a lot of great episodes, so we want to highlight the exceptional, the noteworthy. Each week our crack team of podcast enthusiasts and specialists and especially enthusiastic people will pick their favorites. We hope to have your ears permanently plugged with the best in aural comedy.
Nerdist - Paul Reubens
Zoe: This week, Paul Reubens visits The Nerdist to discuss the trajectory of Pee-wee Herman, from his conception at The Groundlings to the Saturday morning character on Pee-wee’s Playhouse. For those of us who grew up with Pee-wee Herman and have since become adult fans of comedy, it’s a fascinating listen. Watching these types of characters as a kid, we don’t always have the appreciation for the hard work that goes into creating these universes. If you were like me, your kid brain just kind of assumed these stories were designed with you in mind, end of story. But the more you learn about the industry itself, the more you see that these worlds are the culmination of many complicated processes, years of hard work, and acutely honed talent. Pee-wee is no exception; at The Groundlings, Reubens originally played him as a cheesy standup who would’ve gotten eaten alive at a club. He then explains how this character came to have a playhouse on an HBO special, which led to a movie (Reubens interestingly describes it as a rewrite of Pollyanna), and ultimately became a kids’ show on CBS. For an hour-long episode, it’s a very comprehensive view of the life of a character in all its incarnations. It’s so good, I forgot to recommend it. READ MORE
David Cross was recently a guest on the Comedian's Comedian Podcast with host Stuart Goldsmith, and after the interview Cross agreed to give Goldsmith the finale track of his 2004 album It's Not Funny that label Sub Pop refused to release. The track includes Cross's own pandering country song called "Clapping in the USA" as well as a voice cameo from H. Jon Benjamin as God Himself. "If you listen to the CD you can certainly tell (the current final track) is not a closing bit," Cross told Goldsmith. "Sub Pop got nervous and I was furious, I was apoplectic, I can't believe you're taking this away… This is a bit that was cut out because Sub Pop was afraid they were gonna get sued, but this is the original ending of the CD."
In a recent Salon interview, Bob Odenkirk warns aspiring writers to “get out of comedy, because it’s about to collapse.” Sketch comedy, he says, is having its time in the sun now — what with YouTube, Comedy Central’s burgeoning lineup and the legions of theater sketch teams popping up all over — but the market is becoming saturated. What’s next then? He suggests that once the market tires of short sketches, it may turn to more long-form, dramatic material. “I do think that after sketch comes story,” he speculates.
And when you look at the TV landscape, that makes sense. (Plus, Odenkirk’s been ahead of the game for years. Why wouldn’t you listen to him now?) Louie and Girls, two shows that are nominally considered comedies but regularly flirt with drama within their svelte 30-minute timeframes, are setting the tone for many of the new comedies cropping up everywhere. Some of that influence manifests itself in different ways, whether it’s other series copping their surface premise (Maron), their intimate, semi-vérité style (Broad City, Looking) or their personal, insular subject matter (Transparent, Hello Ladies).
But regardless of exactly how each show borrows, the bottom line is that all these series are following Louie and Girls’ lead by digging beneath the obvious elements of comedy to explore the uncomfortable or painful issues that lie beneath any good punchline. In short, they’re acting more like dramas. So that begs the question: are we entering some new era dominated by that nebulous thing known as the “comedy-drama”? READ MORE
Craig Ferguson's Late Late Show successor just got an official premiere date. THR reports that The Late Late Show with James Corden will premiere on the network on Monday, March 9th. The show will tape at the CBS Television City lot in Los Angeles, and the network has also signed on British writer/producer/director Ben Winston — who currently works as executive producer on the British X Factor — as Late Late Show showrunner. "We're excited to begin CBS's next chapter after midnight and introduce James' wide range of performance talents and fearless creative instincts to American television viewers," CBS Entertainment chairman Nina Tassler said in a statement. "He and Ben have been friends for a long time and partnered together on a variety of successful projects. They are a creatively dynamic and very energetic host/producer combination." No word yet on when CBS's other late night successor Stephen Colbert will take over for Letterman when he leaves sometime next year.
UPDATE: The Wrap reports that CBS will invite a group of rotating hosts to take over Late Late Show between the time Craig Ferguson leaves on December 19th and Corden takes over in March. No potential guests hosts have been revealed yet, but the idea has certainly worked out for the network in the past.
Over the summer it was announced that FX passed on Charlie Kaufman's comedy pilot starring Michael Cera and John Hawkes, but now Kaufman has a new project in the works with a big comedy star. Deadline reports that Kaufman has signed on to rewrite the film adaptation for IQ 83 based on Arthur Herzog's 1978 science fiction novel about a virus outbreak that lowers humanity's IQs, and Steve Carell is attached to star. Here's a description of the book via Coming Soon:
You are Dr. James Healey and last week you were a genius. That was before the DNA experiments. Before the accident you said could never happen… Since then you have felt your mind decaying a little more each day. You have watched your wife slip into imbecility. You have seen the crowds growing murderous with animal terror, the President of the United States babbling and drooling on TV… Only one thing separates you from them. You, at least, know what is happening as you search for the cure for the horror you have unleashed upon the world—as each day the dimming of your mind lowers your chance of finding it!
The IQ 83 adaptation has been in the works for nearly 20 years, and though the book was written as "serious science fiction," the vision for the film is reportedly "to do a scathing satire, on the order of Doctor Strangelove." Considering that Carell has been delving into dramatic roles lately with Foxcatcher, a satirical sci-fi adaptation written by Charlie Kaufman sounds like a very interesting match.
H. Jon Benjamin and Eugene Mirman just opened up an online store. Called Flotsam General Store, the "post-structural online shopping experience" currently offers a small-sized "Mystery Sack" for $40 and free 6-8+ week shipping. What's in the sacks? According to the store's FAQ, "Flotsam sacks are stocked according to the principes of 'positive sourcing,' with three or more Flotsam products hand-conceived by the Flotsam Design Team." Benjamin said in an interview last month that the items included in each sack will be "products that will leave a legacy. Something to be proud of for time immemorial." Here's more information on Benjamin and Mirman's new business venture from the store's "About" page:
From a rocky perch, a figure stands watching the waves crash in eternal repetition. Is he looking for something or is he waiting for something he has already found? For a lifetime of looking, maybe nothing will come and for a lifetime of waiting, maybe nothing returns. Flotsam is dedicated to the principle that sometimes, what we seek can eventually find us. Our goal is to never know.
Flotsam offers three sacs of hand-chosen items that are hand-hewn by machines in America and are shipped directly to you. What you receive depends on what we choose for you in the moment. In this way, a symbiotic chain is created between producer and consumer. Our mission is to always build on that chain, until that chain enwraps all of us and we are thusly bound together, chained.
With a mission like that, what are you waiting for? Head over to the Flotsam store to buy your own sack today. "$40 is not a big consumer risk," Mirman says on the investment. Benjamin adds: "Look at Maurice McDonald, who started McDonald's. He had $40, and look what happened."
Here's a clip from Wyatt Cenac's visit to Conan from last night, where he reveals which big comedy star booked an upcoming show in Madison, Wisconsin not only the same night as his show, but in a theater across the street from where Cenac is scheduled to perform. Thankfully he already has experience competing with big name celebrities, which he describes in cringeworthy detail. Watch more from his interview below: READ MORE
News broke back in August that Mike Epps officially landed the role of Richard Pryor in the upcoming Lee Daniels-directed biopic, and during last night's Jimmy Kimmel Live, Epps looked back on landing the role and getting to spend a year with Pryor before he died. Watch more from his interview below: READ MORE
Funny or Die just released a brand new installment of Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis, this time featuring the very uninterested Brad Pitt. Pitt's interview has references to everything from his charity work to Benjamin Button to George Clooney, not to mention an extremely short standup performance by Louis C.K.