September 18th, 2014

Former 'Office' Writer/Producer Justin Spitzer Is Developing a Workplace Comedy for NBC

Former Office writer and co-executive producer Justin Spitzer just sold a new workplace comedy to NBC. THR reports that the network has given a script commitment to The Greatest Love Story Ever Told, a single-cam comedy by Spitzer centered on "a disparate group of employees working at a big-box store in middle America and the love stories that will ultimately unfold among them." Spitzer will co-executive produce alongside Enlightened's David Bernad and Zombieland's Ruben Fleischer, and he also serves as a co-executive producer on Fox's Mulaney, which is set to premiere on October 5th.

Key and Peele Take on an Alien Invasion in This Season 4 Sneak Peek

Key and Peele finally returns to Comedy Central next week, and here's a sneak peek from the premiere episode. It turns out that all it takes for the guys to survive an alien invasion is a simple understanding of one of humankind's most unfortunate traits.

W. Kamau Bell Announces New Standup Tour 'Oh, Everything!'

Comedian and former host of Totally Biased W. Kamau Bell is going on tour. Titled Oh, Everything!, the tour kicks off this November and runs through the end of January 2015 with over 30 stops in Los Angeles, Kansas City, Austin, Cincinnati, D.C., Portland, New York, and more. Presale fanclub tickets are available today through Bell's website while general public presale starts tomorrow at 11:00am. Check out the full list of tour dates below: READ MORE

Adam McKay, Seth Rogen, and Ben Schwartz Are Working on a New Movie

Actor/writer Ben Schwartz has written a new comedy and teamed up with Adam McKay and Seth Rogen for the project. Variety reports that McKay is officially attached to direct the untitled comedy, while Seth Rogen is set to star. Schwartz — who most recently appeared on Parks and Rec, Comedy Bang! Bang!, and tomorrow's new release This Is Where I Leave You — will also co-star in the film. McKay and Will Ferrell's own Gary Sanchez Productions is behind the film as well as Rogen and Evan Goldberg's Good Universe; plot details are currently being kept under wraps. "Evan and Seth have been doing amazing things and we’re so excited to work with them," said McKay in a statement. "Ben, not so much. Most of my problems with him are personal ones, but I have to give it up … he did come up with a great idea."

Rogen's statement is a little more epic: "Every two thousand years the planets of our galaxy align in a perfect line that funnels the cosmic energies of the universe to flow into one perfect comedic collaboration. The time is now. This is that project. Nothing will ever be the same." Added Goldberg: "McKay and Schwartz are reeeeeeal smart, well-endowed guys and we couldn’t be more excited to be working with them."

Chris Rock's New Movie 'Top Five' Will Be Released in Theaters December 5th

Chris Rock's new film Top Five has landed an official premiere date not long after screening at the Toronto International Film Festival to rave reviews. THR reports that Top Five has been acquired by Paramount and is set for a limited release on December 5th followed by a nationwide release on the 12th. The film stars Rock "as a comedian trying to reinvent himself as a serious actor just as his reality-TV star fiancee talks him into broadcasting their wedding on their show." Rock recently likened the idea for the film to his own frustrations watching successful comedians transition into more dramatic roles: "It happens with everybody in art, even in sports sometimes. We take for granted the things we do well. You feel a need to stretch your wings, but it's not always the best idea."

Aside from the intriguing plot of the film, it's also filled with a bunch of great famous and upcoming comedy names, including cameos from Adam Sandler, Jerry Seinfeld, and Kevin Hart and supporting roles from Rosario Dawson, Gabrielle Union, Tracy Morgan, Cedric the Entertainer, J.B. Smoove, Sherri Shepherd, Anders Holm, Romany Malco, Leslie Jones, Michael Che, and Jay Pharoah.

This Week in Comedy Podcasts: 'Pauly Shore's Interested' Gets Serious

pauly-dinerThe 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.

Pauly Shore's Interested - The Robin Williams Tribute 

interestedPablo: Right off the bat, Pauly Shore's Interested is not what you'd expect from the '90s stoner icon. I'm not saying I assumed this podcast would be something akin to his MTV VJ days, but I also didn't expect interview clips to fade in-and-out to soft acoustic guitar like your average public radio show. The superb production values give what I'm calling This American Weasel a more serious tone than Shore fans are used to but it works given the somber topic on hand: the suicide of Robin Williams. Shore's two guests are Ed Begley, Jr., who performed standup at the Shore family's Comedy Store before focusing on acting, and comedian Rick Overton, who was Williams's best friend. Both open up their minds and hearts to discuss the late legend's love of bike riding and performing for the troops, his partying heyday in the '80s, and the possibility that the rapid-fire voices in Williams's head that gave him his signature style could have turned on him in his final months. Overton also dishearteningly notes that in Robin's last weeks, their communication dwindled and his texts kept getting shorter. With such a promising start, I highly recommend subscribing to Interested, especially with guests Chris Rock, Paul Rodriguez, Arsenio Hall, and Marc Maron on the horizon. READ MORE


A Bunch of Classic 'MST3K' Episodes Are Now on Vimeo

Mystery Science Theater 3000 just got a new home on the internet. Variety reports that 80 classic episodes of the series are now available on Vimeo, with about a dozen new episodes slated to premiere throughout the next year.

The 80 episodes currently on Vimeo are available to purchase for $300, while individual episodes are available for a $9.99 purchase or $2.99 rental. Fans who buy the entire $300 package will also have access to all newly released episodes between now and September 17, 2016, though those episodes will reportedly be made available for free anyway. MST3K's distributor Shout! Factory has already made the 80 episodes available in limited amounts on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Instant Video, and Walmart's Vudu, but the promise of the additional dozen never-before-released episodes — which were never cleared due to all the rights issues that come along with screening an entire film within a television show — is exciting news for MST3K fans who have long hoped to rewatch the lost episodes.

Aubrey Plaza to Voice Grumpy Cat in an Upcoming Lifetime Movie

Parks and Rec star Aubrey Plaza just landed the role she was born to play. TV Guide reports that Plaza has officially signed on to voice the role of Grumpy Cat in an upcoming Lifetime movie called Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever. The film will premiere on the network November 29th at 8:00pm and star the internet-famous cat as "a pet store feline who's never chosen for adoption — which leads to her sour outlook on life. Along comes a 12-year-old girl, who can actually hear Grumpy Cat talk. The two eventually go on adventures together and, yes, discover the true meaning of Christmas." Hopefully Plaza can pull off heartwarming feline Christmas revelations as well as she can pull off living in a constant state of sarcasm.

What Does it Mean to Direct an Adam Sandler Movie?

jackandjillThe Adam Sandler assembly line began production in 1995 with Billy Madison and has since churned out over 20 films under the Happy Madison Productions outfit starring Sandler in his well-versed comic persona of the well-meaning, flawed, likable, schlub. Sandler’s brand is a veritable cottage industry, almost operating like a mini-studio, attaching him and his team of writers and producers to his projects and the smaller projects of his friends. Yet, despite the films orbiting around Sandler and having massive control over their image and tone, Sandler himself has never had a director credit on his own project or any other for that matter. That distinction has been credited to a revolving door of recurring directors throughout his career. Despite this, there is a consistency to the way Sandler’s films look and feel. It is almost as if Happy Madison operates like Sandler’s career is just one continuous television program and directors-for-hire are brought in to maintain consistency.

So then what does it mean to direct an Adam Sandler film? Most of the works in his filmography are categorized by by some range of Sandler’s character in the center, surrounded by wackier characters, a chaotic environment, and an ingenue who has her heart won by Sandler’s schlubby goof. In this formula, often written and/or produced by Sandler himself, he needs to stand out in the center as the object around which the world of the film orbits. The judgement of every other character is seen through the worldview of Sandler’s character. In Happy Gilmore, despite his anger issues, Happy sticks it to the uptight, overly competitive golf world by bringing in some working-class flare. The uptight other golfers, particularly Shooter McGavin, come off toolish and stiff in comparison, making Happy’s flaws seem likeable and appealing. This same formula of characterization holds true in Billy Madison, Big Daddy, The Waterboy, Mr. Deeds, Little Nicky, etc. The job of a Sandler director, therefore, is to manage the world around Sandler so Sandler’s comedy can stand out in contrast most clearly. The role of the Happy Madison director is to be a yes man. READ MORE

At Big Lots We Think Pets Are People Too!

Zach Braff and Bill Lawrence Are Developing a New Show

The creator and the star of Scrubs are currently working on a new comedy series and have their eyes set on Netflix. According to The Independent, Zach Braff is currently in talks with Scrubs creator Bill Lawrence to create a new show together. "I've been talking about a new idea with Bill Lawrence," Braff said. "I don't know if it will be this year or next." As for where Braff and Lawrence hope to premiere the in-the-works show, Braff said: "I like the idea of this new waves that you can do 12 episodes or eight episodes maybe for cable or Netflix or whatever. There are so many more options now. It's an exciting time."

Braff didn't reveal any details on the show, but he's currently busy promoting the UK premiere of his Kickstarter-funded film Wish I Was Here. As for Lawrence, his new NBC show Undateable recently got a second season renewal.

How FX's 'You’re the Worst' Has Quietly Become the Best New Comedy on Television

youretheworstThe summer television season used to be reserved for the ignoble combination of network miscalculations and obligatory burn offs as the Big Four reserved their more acclaimed pilots for the prestigious fall season. Luckily, the television landscape is slowly evolving. While the upcoming spate of new network sitcoms suggest that the low end of the dial may be clinging to the cozy confines of the familiar, FX’s freshman series You’re the Worst has embraced the allure of the unknown and, in the process, has quietly delivered the most entertaining comedy of the year.

Described as a "dark twist on the romantic comedy genre,” You’re the Worst follows the budding relationship between two professionals in the field of self-destruction: Jimmy, a misanthropic novelist, and Gretchen, a recreationally dishonest music publicist — both of whom, as you may have gleaned from the title, are somewhere near the vicinity of the worst.

YTW debuted this summer with a promising pilot, but fearlessly strutted into “double take” territory soon there after as the series began to exude a quality rarely seen in a rookie sitcom: poise. The series radiates confidence with an unflinching comprehension of its own unique point of view while defiantly refusing to pander to anything other than its own ethos. Sitcom chemistry may not be an exact science, but creator Stephen Falk and the casting department went straight up Louis Pasteur mode on You’re the Worst. READ MORE

Tina Fey Got Alec Baldwin Masks for Her Daughter's Birthday Party

Here's a clip from Tina Fey's visit to the Late Night desk last night, in which she tells Meyers about her older daughter's recent surprise Lemony Snicket-themed birthday party that accidentally resulted in a bunch of little girls wearing Alec Baldwin masks. Click through for some more clips from Fey's interview where she talks about Canadian fans, filming The Nest in Long Island with Amy Poehler, and working with Timothy Olyphant. READ MORE


Darrell Hammond Is Officially the New 'SNL' Announcer

Following the death of SNL's longtime announcer Don Pardo last month, former cast member (and occasional Pardo fill-in) Darrell Hammond said he'd be "honored and thrilled" to take over Pardo's duties on the show going forward, and now that change has officially been made. The New York Times confirms that Lorne Michaels has chosen Hammond to become the show's new announcer going forward. It's not yet clear whether Hammond will imitate Pardo like he's done in the past or make the job his own, but a quote from Michaels seems to hint it will be the latter: "There were a lot of sweet ideas about carrying on with Don somehow," Michaels said. "Because everyone has a Pardo impression. But he had the greatest run and he's a completely beloved figure. So I thought: Don't turn this into something else. That period ended." Michaels later added that he's "really happy" to have given Hammond the gig and that he thinks "it will be good to have Darrell doing his own separate thing."