March 27th, 2015

A Guide to the Hard-to-Find Comedy Albums of Albert Brooks

140 -brooksalbumsA few years ago in From the Archives, we did a deep dive and examined Albert Brooks’s early short films, and reminded ourselves at how creative and unique a talent the man is. Throughout these shorts we were shown a laundry list of creative ideas, jokes that still hold up today, and satire that is just as sharp now as it was in the seventies. Today we’re going to examine Albert’s two incredibly innovative albums and we'll find that even with the video component removed, these qualities still apply. Each album features a uniquely audio premise, and one was nominated for a Grammy and hasn’t been reissued since it’s initial vinyl release. Buckle up and prepare yourselves for 1973’s Comedy Minus One, and 1975’s A Star is Bought. READ MORE

'Coach' Is Returning for a 13-Episode Season on NBC

Your prayers have finally been answered: '90s sitcom Coach returning for a brand new season. Deadline reports that NBC has given a straight-to-series 13-episode order to the show, which originally ran on ABC from 1989-1997. Craig T. Nelson is attached to reprise his role, and original Coach creator Barry Kemp will write and co-executive produce with Nelson. The revamped series will be set in present day and follow Coach Hayden Fox as he's "called back to become assistant coach to his own grown son, who is the new head coach at an Ivy league school in Pennsylvania that is just starting up a new team." Like the original series, the new Coach will be multi-cam. The project joins a pile of recently announced/produced sequels to '90s television shows like Boy Meets World, The X-Files, and Twin Peaks.

Talking with '@midnight's First #PointsMe Winner Chris Cubas

Back in January, Comedy Central's @midnight launched a new contest called #PointsMe, in which fans and aspriring @midnight contestants took to Twitter, Vine, Instagram, Facebook, and Tumblr to try out for an appearance on the show. "I think in the ideal scenario, we'd like to find someone who hasn't quite achieved mass exposure," @midnight co-creator, executive producer, and head writer Alex Blagg told us. "If we could break new talent who just organically come out of social media and we put them on and they do well, that would just be really exciting and fun for us as a way to play off what I consider to be the interactivity we try to weave throughout @midnight." The show reached that goal during Wednesday night's episode, which revealed Austin-based standup Chris Cubas as the very first #PointsMe winner. I recently talked with Cubas about what it was like to be on TV for the first time, what he learned from the experience, and what advice he has to offer for the next @midnight fan-turned-#PointsMe winner. READ MORE

Will Ferrell Is Tired of Answering Personal Questions About His Bird

Here's a clip from Will Ferrell's visit to last night's Conan, where O'Brien overwhelms him with tons of personal, invasive questions about Professor Feathers, who is already uncomfortable with being forced to be on national television. It's really unfortunate that even a seasoned talk show host like Conan wouldn't have the decency to know that celebrities deserve their privacy and some topics are strictly off-limits.

Paula Pell Looks Back on 'SNL's 40th Anniversary Special on 'Late Night'

The lovely and always entertaining talk show guest Paula Pell stopped by last night's Late Night, where she and Meyers talked about everything from her work on the upcoming Tina Fey/Amy Poehler movie Sisters to what it's like to be a script doctor for other movies to the SNL 40th anniversary special cold open she wrote with Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake. Pell also reveals that her Above Average web series with James Anderson Hudson Valley Ballers will return for a new season sometime this year. Watch more from the interview below: READ MORE

Watch Jon Stewart Say Goodbye to Jason Jones on 'The Daily Show'

After ten years as a correspondent, Jason Jones made his final appearance on The Daily Show last night, and Jon Stewart gave a proper tribute to all the silly and silly-serious segments he's done over the years. "Nothing makes my job easier than knowing there is someone there who I can always go to and always count on who's gonna deliver the funny, the smart, the everything," Stewart told him. "You were always that dude."


Aidy Bryant, Dwayne Johnson, and George Ezra Get Comfy in These 'SNL' Promos

Dwayne Johnson returns to SNL this weekend, and NBC just released another round of promos to get you excited. The four-time host is joined by musical guest George Ezra and Aidy Bryant, who clearly has a deep appreciation for homemade cookies and manly muscles.

NBC Sets Premiere Dates for 'Mr. Robinson,' 'The Carmichael Show,' and 'Welcome to Sweden'

Craig Robinson's NBC comedy finally has a premiere date. The network revealed today that Mr. Robinson will premiere on Wednesday, August 5th at 9:00pm followed by the premiere of The Carmichael Show starring comedian Jerrod Carmichael at 9:30pm. Mr. Robinson has been in development at NBC for over two years, while Jerrod Carmichael's show landed a six-episode order earlier this month. Greg Poehler's Welcome to Sweden will also return to NBC for a second season on Sunday, July 19th at 8:00pm.

Using Shock and Violence for Comedy's Sake in 'Wild Tales'

wildtalesOscar Best Foreign Language film nominee Wild Tales, directed by Argentine filmmaker Damián Szifron, is an anthology of six short films tackling the topic of revenge. The shorts, beginning with a short pre-credit sequence that sets the tone of sadistic retribution that carries throughout the film, each follow a structure of a seemingly normal situation going as far awry as you could possibly imagine. The craziness is triggered by violence, anger, retaliation, and personal slights big and small that turn situations on their heads and drive them to the most absurd realistic conclusion. The pieces end up bloody, gory, tragic, explosive, but always in the service of a laugh. It is a fantastically unique way to go about creating a comedy and a way that goes often unseen in American filmmaking.

Dark comedies use sadness to make mundane light moments in life have extra comedic value and campy horror films use comedy only for shock value. Wild Tales certainly has its share of shocks, but in addition to be visually shocking (at certain points), they are also dramatically shocking. We are surprised at the narrative turn the stories take and how quickly the devolve into total madness. Because of the layout of the project — six shorts each with the same structure — after the first two establish that structure the response becomes a question of how Szifron will pull off the big shock-laugh this time around and the tension that builds knowing that it will all be going to hell makes for little moments that can play to big laughs. READ MORE

Buy Comedy Dynamics' Humble Bundle Featuring Bill Hicks, Mike Birbiglia, Iliza Shlesinger, and More

Flash sale website Humble Bundle just unveiled a brand new comedy bundle today from Comedy Dynamics. The pay-what-you-want collection is available on Humble Bundle for one week only with proceeds going to the American Red Cross and Electronic Frontier Front and includes both video and audio selections from Bill Hicks, Marc Maron, Mike Birbiglia, Iliza Shlesinger, Doug Stanhope, Brian Posehn, and Brooks Wheelan. The bundle is only available through Wednesday, April 1st, so head over to the Humble Bundle website to purchase yours today.

This Week in Comedy Podcasts: Jenny Slate Embraces Her Emotions on 'Crybabies'

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.

CrybabiesJenny Slate, Elizabeth Hill

crybabiesElizabeth: After talking about music that makes them cry while working out with psychotherapist/spin instructor Elizabeth Hill, Susan Orlean and Sarah Thyre welcome actress, comedian, and huge crybaby Jenny Slate. Jenny hadn’t cried yet that day, but that quickly changes as they delve into the things that make her weep including a scene from The Tree of Life, the song “On the Street Where You Live” from My Fair Lady, and First Aid Kit’s “Cedar Lane.” Jenny also talks about her mom’s loom, how all her serious relationships were with people whose parents were psychotherapists, and sobbing in Asheville, North Carolina. The ladies also discuss marriage—from Jenny’s love role models, her grandparents to their own marriages, which range in length from 2 to 21 years—and how to keep it fresh (like by having sex in the bathroom of a Church’s Fried Chicken.) By the end you’ll be touched and probably wondering how many penises are on your subway car. READ MORE

Jake Fogelnest Is Developing a Scripted Comedy for IFC

IFC is teaming up with Jake Fogelnest for a new show. The network announced today that Fogelnest — who is a writer on Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp, Billy on the Street, and upcoming Hulu series Difficult People — is creating and writing a new scripted comedy tentatively called Start Making Sense with Ben Stiller on board as an executive producer. The series follows a man named Jack "desperately clinging to his fading relevancy as a best-selling author and his son, Shane, basking in popularity by expressing his teenage angst in 140 characters or less. As these generational voices collide they must navigate new waters of texts, trust and rock and roll." Said Fogelnest on the news: "I am thrilled to be working with IFC, Red Hour and Legendary on this project. I just hope they never figure out they’ve put a complete dumdum in charge of writing what has been sold to them as a smart comedy. Seriously, have you seen what I put on Twitter?"

What the Hell Is the Deal with Clowns?

it-stephen-king“All the world loves a clown,” Cole Porter once wrote. Turns out, not so much. Today, people’s perceptions of clowns are largely negative: clowns are weird, clowns are scary, clowns are incomprehensible. One thing clowns are not is funny. As Louis C.K. has said, “Clowns aren’t funny. There’s nothing worse than somebody who is not funny trying to be funny. That’s what a clown is.”

However, clowns remain intrinsically linked to comedy. The jokester in the back row is called the class clown. Chris Farley carried “The Clown’s Prayer” in his pocket at all times. There are a whole bunch of terrible articles referring to Robin Williams as a sad clown. For most purposes, “clown” and “comedian” are synonyms. Clowns are comedy, even if clowns aren’t comedic. Where does this disconnect spring from? Why do we hate clowns now? READ MORE

Will Ferrell Let His Hollywood Walk of Fame Star Go to His Head

Kevin Hart and Will Ferrell were guests on last night's Late Late Show, and after James Corden congratulated Ferrell for his recent Hollywood Walk of Fame star ceremony Ferrell responded with what he learned from the experience: "The one thing I thought of is as I looked out — I've got my mom and my dad, I've got my kids, my wife, friends, and family — I couldn't help but think, 'Gosh, I'm so much better than you.'" Watch more from the interview below: READ MORE