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.
Terrified - Dave Ross
LEIGH: To mark the one year anniversary of Terrified, host Dave Ross moves over to the guest spot and has his friend Jake Weisman take over as host. (It's also worth mentioning that Weisman's turn as guest on Terrified is one of my favorite episodes.) If you're not familiar with the format of the podcast, it starts with two questions: "What are you afraid of?" and "What do you not like about yourself?" Maybe it's because they're friends, or because Ross has listened to so many others answer these questions before, but it gets pretty deep and honest right off the bat. Weaving naturally and seamlessly between lighthearted jokes and more serious stuff like self-worth, self-esteem, and "being a piece of shit," the conversation is both funny and therapeutic. It's pretty heavy stuff but don't kid yourself — if you have any kind of feelings at all, you can relate. Above all, listen to this episode for the new Dave Ross sound effect. READ MORE
Andy Samberg is about to play a tennis bad boy in an original HBO movie. According to Deadline, HBO is currently assembling the cast for 7 Days in Hell, a tennis-centric mockumentary written by Girls and American Dad! writer Murray Miller based on a concept by Miller and Samberg, who will star opposite Game of Thrones' Kit Harington. The mockumentary will tell the tale of rivaling tennis players during their legendary seven-day match at Wimbledon, with Samberg as "tennis' superstar bad boy" Aaron Williams and Harington as Charles Poole, "a tennis prodigy and certified truck driver." Rounding out the cast will be Fred Armisen, Lena Dunham, Will Forte (playing a tennis historian), Karen Gillan (as supermodel and Charles's childhood best friend), Howie Mandel, Soledad O'Brien (as herself), Michael Sheen, Mary Steenburgen (as Charles's psycho mother), and June Squibb. SNL and Funny or Die's Jake Szymanski will direct.
7 Days in Hell is not the first TV mockumentary project starring SNL grads to be announced this year; in March, IFC announced that they ordered six episodes of American Documentary, a half-hour series of fake documentaries and biopics, from Bill Hader, Fred Armisen, and Seth Meyers, to air next year.
Welcome to our column Sketch Anatomy, where we ask some of our favorite television writers to choose any sketch — one they personally wrote or one from history they find particularly hilarious, notable, or underappreciated — to learn from a writer's perspective what separates a successful sketch from the rest.
For this week's Sketch Anatomy, we're breaking the rules a little to go behind the scenes of a classic '90s sitcom episode with Andy Cowan, former writer for Cheers and 3rd Rock from the Sun and the mind behind the acclaimed 1994 Seinfeld episode "The Opposite." Ranked at #1 in our own list of every Seinfeld episode, "The Opposite" was a freelance submission by Cowan that went on to become Seinfeld's fifth season finale. I recently chatted with Cowan about how he broke into television writing, what it was like to have his script accepted by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld, and his thoughts on the future of the traditional sitcom format. READ MORE
Here's a clip from Ricky Gervais's interview on last night's Late Night, in which he and Meyers talk about the differences between US and UK awards shows. This leads to Gervais realizing mid-interview that he's unhappy with "that big sweaty slob" Louis C.K. for never giving him the thank you he deserves.
You can catch Kurt Braunohler’s new episode of The Half Hour this Friday, July 25, but he’s been focused on a lot more than just standup lately. In June, the comedian jet skied the Mississippi River from Chicago to New Orleans as part of his Indiegogo campaign to raise $50,000 to provide 500 goats and 1000 chickens to African families in need. The quest is documented in his Comedy Central web series Roustabout, coming out this fall.
On top of that, Kurt is starring in the upcoming film B Roll, has plans to release a compilation album from his standup/variety show Hot Tub with Kristen Schaal, and continues to work on his podcast The K Ohle on the Nerdist network, which rotates between formats including The Boat Show, Get Lost!, and PETophilia.
I got to talk to Kurt about standup, acting, and the challenges of jet skiing for charity. READ MORE
Last month it was announced that Chelsea Handler had signed on to star in a new talk show for Netflix. Right now, all we know about Handler's show is that it's slated to premiere in October 2016 and will be the first series to be released at a specific time block on the streaming service. According to Business Insider, Netflix's Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos recently addressed the company's intentions with Handler's show, which will be heavily influenced by the changing ways people watch late night shows today:
"People are not watching scripted programming the way they used to. They're also not watching these late-night talk shows the way they used to, meaning they're not watching them at 11:30. They're watching them days, weeks, sometimes months later online or on stacked episodes on DVR. So what we are hoping to do with Chelsea and her team is create a show that's built closer to the way people are going to watch it, the way we had done with serialized dramas where we to took out the commercial breaks and the cliffhangers and really produce it for the way people watch. And we've got a lot of time between now and then to work through all the format details. Chelsea is incredibly excited and we're really excited about her brand and we think it's going to be great for us."
Chelsea Handler's show will be Netflix's first original talk show, so if the approach works it could lead to some interesting late night competition. Similarly, HBO has also been very next-day-viewing-friendly with Last Week Tonight with John Oliver — an unusual move for the pay network — so hopefully this commercial-free, YouTube-friendly late night trend is here to stay.
Before they broke into SNL stardom, Tina Fey and Rachel Dratch starred in a two-woman show together called Dratch & Fey that ran at Second City and New York's UCB from 1999-2000, and a couple days ago an old VHS copy of the entire show showed up on YouTube. The quality isn't the best, but considering it's nearly an hour of vintage Dratch and Fey in their element, a few VHS bugs shouldn't hold you back. (via)
While Conan recently announced that he'd be "starring" in the upcoming Syfy movie Sharktopus VS. Pteracuda, it looks like this ridiculous and insanely violent scene is the only one he's actually in. Which is probably for the best — I'm not sure anyone could take a full 90 minutes of that character. I'm sure all of the other characters are more fleshed out and well rounded. We'll find out when it airs on Syfy at 9pm on August 2nd.