April 23rd, 2015

This Week in Comedy Podcasts: Guy Branum Visits 'Never Not Funny'

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.

Never Not FunnyGuy Branum

never not funnyElizabeth: There’s a new new Odd Couple and it’s Jimmy Pardo and Guy Branum. The comedian stops by to debate everything from Patti Lupone’s performance in Company to Madonna doing standup. The latter is such a hot topic that they circle back to it for further critique. The verdict? Painful but sweetly vulnerable. Guy also chats about his time writing for Fashion Police, the difference between New York waiters and LA waiters (New York waiters have stage training and California waiters are more nuanced), and why Madonna and Kesha are both better than Lady Gaga. They end with a game of pyramid, but not before Guy, who grew up on an almond farm, solves the California water crisis by declaring that we should stop watering the almonds. Hopefully Governor Jerry Brown listens to Never Not Funny. READ MORE

'David Letterman: A Life on Television' to Air on CBS May 4th

Before he leaves his longtime post at Late Show on May 20th, David Letterman will be the subject of a 90-minute tribute special on CBS. The network announced today that David Letterman: A Life on Television will air on Monday, May 4th from 9:30-11:00pm with host Ray Romano, who got his first big break on Letterman's show in 1995. Read CBS's full announcement below: READ MORE


Here's the Star-Studded Trailer for Season 3 of IFC's 'Maron'

Marc Maron returns to IFC next month for a brand new season of Maron, and the first trailer was just released. It's loaded with new and returning stars like Andy Kindler, Patton Oswalt, Maria Bamford, Whitney Cummings, Andy Dick, Eddie Pepitone, Dave Anthony, Judd Hirsch, and Sally Kellerman. Season 3 premieres on IFC Thursday, May 14th at 10:00pm.

Sketch Anatomy: Jake Fogelnest on 'The State's "Taco Man"

Welcome to our column Sketch Anatomy, where we ask some of our favorite comedy 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 installment of Sketch Anatomy we spoke with Jake Fogelnest, who has written for Funny or Die, Billy on the Street, Hulu's Difficult People, and Netflix's upcoming and warmly anticipated Wet Hot American Summer prequel series. On top of all that, Fogelnest also has a new Ben Stiller-produced show in the works at IFC tentatively titled Start Making Sense, but he still found some time to talk with us about a classic sketch from MTV's The State that we featured in 2013 as one of the show's best forgotten sketches ever. Starring Michael Ian Black and Kevin Allison, season 4 sketch "Taco Man" is a deceivingly simple, three-minute chat between a mailman and a frustrated suburban homeowner who, understandably, prefers getting his mail over delicious tacos. READ MORE

Amazon Orders Comedy Pilot from Bob Nelson and Sacha Baron Cohen

Nebraska writer Bob Nelson has a new coming-of-age comedy in the works at Amazon. According to Deadline, the streaming network has ordered a single-cam half-hour comedy called Highston from Nelson and produced by Sacha Baron Cohen, with Little Miss Sunshine duo Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris onboard to direct. The series follows Highston Liggetts, "a kind 19-year-old and perched on the edge of adulthood. When he encounters a world he doesn’t understand, like Elwood P. Dowd, he retreats into his vast imagination, where famous 'friends' are his companions and mentors." The cast has not yet been announced.

Jim Gaffigan and David Letterman Talk Jesus, Standup, and the Midwest

Jim Gaffigan made his final appearance on Late Show with David Letterman last night, where he and Dave chatted about why no one should live in the Midwest, what it's like to work on his upcoming TV Land series, and why it's impressive that Jesus was in such good shape, which involves the constant temptation of pretzel bread.

Seth Meyers Spends a Day at Yankee Stadium

Here's a clip from last night's Late Night, in which Seth Meyers heads to Yankee Stadium for a day: "It's April in New York City, it's fucking freezing, which means it's time for some baseball!" Meyers meets a Yankees bat boy, locker room attendant, organist, beer vendor, and radio announcer Michael Kay and also gets some good practice hitting Late Night writer Seth Reiss with bags of peanuts.

Chris Rock on HBO's 'Real Sports': "Baseball Is Dying. Literally."

Here's a new clip from HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel featuring comedian and longtime baseball fan Chris Rock, who takes on baseball's growing diversity issues, explains why most black people just don't love the sport anymore, and breaks down why this should be extremely troubling for those in the industry: "You lose black America, you lose young America," Rock warns. "And make no mistake: Baseball is losing."

20 More Episodes of 'Lip Sync Battle' Are on the Way

Get ready for a lot more celebrity lip syncing. Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Merchant, and John Krasinski's new Spike series Lip Sync Battle has broken ratings records for the network, so today's news is not too much of a surprise: According to Variety, it's officially landed a 20-episode second season renewal to debut sometime next year. Guest stars on the LL Cool J-hosted series so far this season include Jennifer Lopez, John Legend, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, and Anne Hathaway. "Lip Sync Battle is a television and viral rock star for Spike," said Spike president Kevin Kay. "We are thrilled to be renewing Lip Sync Battle whose success is a direct result of the brilliance and creativity of our producers, the brave performers, and of course the coolest new duo on television, LL Cool J and Chrissy Teigen."


Simon Rich Signs a Two-Year Overall Deal with FX

SNL alum and Man Seeking Woman creator Simon Rich is sticking with FX for the next two years. The Wrap reports that Rich has signed a two-year overall deal with the network less than two months after his FXX series landed a second season renewal. "They've given us more creative freedom than I ever dreamed was possible," Rich said on FX in a statement. "I'm determined to develop shows with them that are honest, original and gross. I can't wait to get started." For more on Rich's work, check out our interview with him from January.

Watch David Steinberg, Fred Willard, and Robert Klein Create a Second City Late Night Show in the '60s

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's unearthed clip is a vintage look at '60s Second City Chicago featuring Alex Canaan, Robert Klein, David Steinberg, and Fred Willard as host and guests on a late night talk show. After the Library of Congress enacts a bizarre new rule that all nightly talk show episodes must include five minutes of folk singing, their show has no choice but to comply, and after a round of traditional Eskimo folk music and fascinating bird facts from Willard's bird veterinarian character, the panel of guests starts getting a little hectic. Check out another classic Second City clip featuring Willard here.

ABC's 'Muppets' Revival Will Be a "More Adult" Mockumentary Style Show

ABC is currently developing a Muppet Show reboot with Big Bang Theory co-creator Bill Prady and Anger Management writer/producer Bob Kushell, and according to Entertainment Weekly the series will be aimed more at adults than kids, take on an Office/Arrested Development-style mockumentary format, and have a tone similar to 30 Rock. The plot will follow the Muppets behind the scenes as they launch a brand new television series, and the mockumentary format will delve "deeper into the Muppets' personal lives" for the first time. Here's ABC's official description of the series:

The Muppets return to prime time with a contemporary, documentary-style show that—for the first time ever—will explore the Muppets’ personal lives and relationships, both at home and at work, as well as romances, break-ups, achievements, disappointments, wants and desires; a more adult Muppet show, for kids of all ages.

Entertainment Weekly also revealed that the producers behind the project want the series to "go deeper into the soap-territory that is the trademark of ABC's biggest hits like Grey's Anatomy and Scandal," so as long as Miss Piggy's onboard, we can all count on plenty of backstage drama from the Muppet gang.

The Next Wave 2015: The Top Up-and-Coming Comics Outside of NY and LA

nextwave-elsewhere-2015Welcome to the second semi-annual edition of The Next Wave, Splitsider’s roundup of exciting new comic voices from around the country.

Though Los Angeles and New York City are home to the country’s biggest comedy industries, they aren’t the only cities with thriving comedy scenes. In recent years especially — thanks to the rising popularity of locally-focused festivals, and ofma course, the internet — the following cities have become destinations for new comics looking to grow, and for bookers and agents looking to discover emerging talent. Here are a few must-follow cities, and the comics who are on their way to becoming The Next Wave.

We reached out to some of the most informed comedy bookers, festival producers, journalists, and industry insiders from comedy’s biggest scenes, and asked them to share their current favorite up-and-comers with us. The Next Wave was compiled with input and guidance from:

Matt Bearden (Punch Comedy)
Charlene Conley (Bridgetown Comedy Festival)
Stephanie Hasz (The Comedy Exposition Festival)
Andy Juett (High Plains Comedy Festival)

Bill Hicks' 'Relentless' Is Coming to Movie Theaters for Only One Night

Recorded at the Centaur Theater in Montreal in 1992, Bill Hicks' 'Relentless' finds the comedian at the top of his game. With classic jokes railing against non-smokers, musicians who don't use drugs, and the (then current) Gulf War, 'Relentless' is classic Bill Hicks for both newcomer and superfan. In addition, 'Comedy Dynamics Presents: Bill Hicks' will also feature an exclusive interview with Bill Hicks' brother, Steve featuring behind-the-scenes anecdotes coupled with unseen clips of Bill from previous standup routines as well as personal videos from the VAULT of Comedy Dynamics.

Don't miss this memorable one-night event at your local movie theater.

Find your nearest participating movie theater here.