Splitsider

October 28th, 2014

Matt Damon and Ben Affleck Are Producing a Fox Comedy from '30 Rock' Alum Colleen McGuinness

Another former 30 Rock writer just landed a new comedy on a major network. Following last week's report that former 30 Rock writers/co-executive producers Josh Siegal and Dylan are developing a witch-themed comedy for NBC, today The Wrap reports that Fox has ordered a script for a half-hour comedy from Colleen McGuinness, who wrote for 30 Rock's sixth and seventh seasons. The untitled show will focus on "a 25-year-old woman who works at a frozen yogurt shop and whose life is going nowhere – until she discovers she is telekinetic." The series has some superstar backing from Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, who will serve as co-executive producers.

'The Daily Show's Jason Jones and Samantha Bee Are Developing a Comedy for TBS

When TBS ordered a new comedy called Wrecked last week, reports also mentioned that the network had teamed up with Daily Show correspondents and married couple Jason Jones and Samantha Bee for a "family vacation anthology series." Today, THR confirms that the untitled project has been given a pilot order and will star Jones with Bee onboard as a writer. The show is inspired by Jones and Bee's own experiences and will center on a family as they embark on a road trip to Key West, Florida. Jones will play "hopeful dad Nate, who hops in the car with his wife and two young kids for a 24-hour adventure to the Keys. This comedy will prove that close proximity can lead a family to get on each other's nerves but precarious situations and interactions with strangers can bring them together again." If the pilot gets picked up to series, each episode will center on a different family trip.

TV

Bob Odenkirk on 'Better Call Saul': "It's a Total Drama, Man"

AMC's Breaking Bad spin-off Better Call Saul premieres on the network in February, and in a recent interview with THR, star Bob Odenkirk cleared up any confusion about where on the series will tilt on the comedy/drama scale. The original concept for Better Call Saul was a half-hour comedy, but Odenkirk says it quickly turned into an hourlong drama: "It's a total drama, man. It's 85 percent drama, 15 percent comedy." Head over to THR to read the rest of the interview, which includes Odenkirk's thoughts on writing for SNL, Get a Life, and the one network note Mr. Show got from HBO during its run in the late '90s.

The Weird and Wonderful World of Maria Bamford

Back in August, the web series Modern Comedian debuted an episode featuring standup Maria Bamford wherein she candidly breaks down her struggles with bipolar disorder and delivers a hilarious walkthrough of her favorite website Crazymeds.us. Lit by nothing but the glow of her computer screen, Bamford reads a panic attack-inducing list of side effects for one of her meds — including "instant old age," inability to drink alcohol, tooth loss, confusion, baldness, and dry skin — before bursting into laughter then telling the camera: "I don't mind losing a little hair. And, again, the tradeoff is pretty awesome."

In this little moment lies the true magic of Bamford. Whether she's starring in her own standup special or bringing her uniquely lovable oddball brand to shows like The Comedians of Comedy, Louie, Arrested Development, or her newest role on USA's Benched, Bamford has mastered the art of remaining a fearless yet vulnerable performer who knows how to draw the funny out of life's bitter side effects. Ahead of the premiere of Benched tonight, I asked Bamford about her latest television role, the emotional pain of Bridezillas, the difference between sitcom work and standup, and what her own ultimate dream TV show would look like. READ MORE

Watch Hari Kondabolu in 'NYT's New Web Series 'Off Color'

The New York Times debuted a new web series today called Off Color featuring "several artists of color who use humor to make social statements about the sometimes subtle, sometimes obvious ways that race plays out in America today." Check out the first episode starring standup Hari Kondabolu above, which includes an appearance by W. Kamau Bell and a look at how, in Kondalu's words, he's learned to "recycle pain."

Amy Poehler's 'Yes Please' Is the Best Non-Self-Help Self-Help Book Ever

yespleaseBefore I can start my thoughts on Amy Poehler’s Yes Please (Dey Street Press, out today), I have to put aside Professional Writer Voice and make a confession: I love self-help books. I’m not talking about the ones that promise if you just think positively piles of money will magically appear. I mean the ones that urge us to be better people, that gently tell us it’s slowly inch-by-inch going to be okay and that it helps our hearts to be kinder to others and to ourselves. I have an entire shelf of them. If there’s a Brene Brown book to be had, I own a dog-eared, heavily-underlined copy, and I’ve kept lists of self-help books quoted by other self-help books. All of them are by Pema Chodron.

I mention this because Poehler’s Yes Please reads like a self-help book, and I mean that very much as a compliment. Actually, Yes Please is better, because it’s funny and lacks self-helpy cheesiness. Throughout, Poehler reflects on her life, gives advice through the lessons she’s learned (particularly those learned through improv), and delivers enough comedic nonsense to keep it entertaining. I want to hug this book, and not just because Poehler also suggests reading Pema Chodron. This isn’t to suggest she gives advice the whole time, but that in describing her experiences, it’s easy to see how much further cultivating healthy habits and relationships can take us.

With section titles like “Say whatever you want,” and “Be whoever you are,” Yes Please is even structured like a self-help book, and throughout, Poehler offers stand alone pages of wisdom like, “Nobody looks stupid when they are having fun,” and “forget the facts and remember the feelings.” But it’s sharing her experience of the world that makes Yes Please relatable. In “Plain girl vs. the demon,” she describes her own difficulties with self criticism, i.e. the demon that resides in her brain, and offers a smart way of countering it. “When the demon starts to… say bad shit about me I turn around and say, ‘Hey, cool it. Amy is my friend. Don’t talk about her like that.’ Sticking up for ourselves in the same way we would one of our friends is a hard but satisfying thing to do.” READ MORE

Jordan Peele's Horror Movie Will Be About "the Fears of Being a Black Man Today"

In last month's issue of Entertainment Weekly, Jordan Peele revealed that he was developing and potentially directing a horror film for Darko Entertainment. "That's a straight horror movie. I want to be essentially a thriller director," Peele said. "I'm a big fan of horror movies. Rosemary's Baby, Stepford Wives — I'm sort of taking a lead from that genre of film. It'll be, just, very cool." Peele recently shared more details on the project with Playboy:

"I've been spending the first half of my career focusing on comedy but my goal, in all honesty, is to write and direct horror movies. I have one that I'm working on with Darko Entertainment called Get Out – I don’t want to say too much about it, but it is one of the very, very few horror movies that does jump off of racial fears. That to me is a world that hasn't been explored. Specifically, the fears of being a black man today. The fears of being any person who feels like they're a stranger in any environment that is foreign to them. It deals with a protagonist that I don't see in horror movies."

In the meantime, check out this Halloween-themed clip from Key and Peele where the guys talk all about horror films: READ MORE

Check Out 'The Daily Show's New Texas-Themed Opening Titles

The Daily Show kicked off its week in Austin, Texas last night, and the show began with the above Western-inspired opening title sequence featuring the Daily Show news team and some special guests. Watch more from the episode below: READ MORE

Amy Poehler Shares Her 'Parks and Rec' Finale Fantasy on 'Late Show'

Here's a clip from Amy Poehler's visit to last night's Late Show, where she confesses to being a little worried about how she'll act when the Parks and Rec cast and crew tape the series finale episode and tells Letterman that after the show she plans to "take a little time and digest this great experience." Watch more from Poehler's interview below: READ MORE

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TV

What's on TV This Week: Halloween Episodes Ahoy

marryme-halloweenThis week on TV we've got a few more fall premieres as well as a whole slew of Halloween-themed episodes. The fourth season of 2 Broke Girls airs tonight and Thursday CBS starts its new lineup. Two and a Half Men premieres its 12th season and is sandwiched between a new episode of The Big Bang Theory and the series premiere of The McCarthys. The week finishes up with a Jimmy Kimmel Live Halloween special on Friday featuring Andy Samberg and Rosie Perez, and on Saturday Chris Rock hosts SNL.

In late night, Amy Poehler visits Meyers and Letterman. Letterman also has guests Jim Carrey and Brian Regan while Fallon has Paul Reubens. Krysten Ritter and Bob Odenkirk visit Conan, and Ferguson has guests Ray Romano and Alingon Mitra. Melissa McCarthy, Will Arnett, and Lisa Kudrow also join Kimmel throughout the week. And Sunday John Oliver gives his weekly wrap up on Last Week Tonight.

Check out this week’s full comedy listings below: READ MORE

The Season 10 'It's Always Sunny' Trailer Shoots the Gang into Space

Ahead of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia's return to FXX in January, the network released the season 10 trailer today that reimagines the Gang as a team of heroic astronauts who get shot into space.

Rob Riggle and Paul F. Tompkins Talk 'SNL,' UCB, and the Marine Corps

Here's the latest installment of Paul F. Tompkins's web series Speakeasy with guest Rob Riggle, who chats with Tompkins all about his favorite comedies as a kid, his time as a pilot in the Marine Corps, falling in love with UCB, his trainwreck audition for the NBC sitcom Joey, and the sobering advice Will Ferrell gave him when he joined the cast of SNL.