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March 3rd, 2015

Paul Simon Answers Some Snobby Fan Questions on This Week's 'Portlandia'

Here's a sneak peek of this week's Portlandia featuring special guest Paul Simon, who fields some fan questions at a Q&A only to get bombarded by the folk music snobbery of Kath and Dave. By the way, Simon is there to promote his new book, the perfectly titled You Can Call Me Paul.

SNL

China Is Getting Its Own 'Saturday Night Live'

Saturday Night Live is heading to China. Bloomberg reports that Broadway Video has closed a deal with Sohu.com to launch a Chinese version of SNL. "China’s Communist Party has been looking for new ways to engage with an audience because past forms of preaching are no longer suitable for today," said Wang Sixin, a professor at the Communication University of China, on the news. "What Sohu needs to be careful about, though, is finding the right balance when doing satire about social and political issues." China isn't the first country to get its own version of SNL; Horatio Sanz worked as a consultant on SNL Mexico in 2013, and Spain, Italy, Japan, and South Korea have been airing their own versions as well.

Mike Epps to Star in ABC's 'Uncle Buck' Pilot

ABC is moving forward with Will Packer's TV adaptation of John Hughes's 1989 film Uncle Buck, and according to Deadline, the multi-cam comedy just cast Mike Epps in the lead role. The series will follow Epps as Buck Russell, "a childish man who learns how to be an adult by taking care of his brother Will’s kids in a very childish way." Nia Long (The Cleveland Show, House of Lies) will play Will's wife. The project is moving forward despite the protests of John Hughes and John Candy's family members, who released a statement last year voicing their disapproval: "Recalling that the director was displeased with first Uncle Buck TV show effort which failed on CBS in 1990, it is well expected that he would not be supportive of this current attempt."

NBC to Launch a Subscription Streaming Comedy Service This Year

If you're a fan of NBC comedy offerings like SNL and The Tonight Show but don't want to bother with the trouble of owning a television or cable box, NBC has you covered: Variety reports that the network is planning to launch a comedy subscription video service sometime this year. Details on what the streaming service will offer are still slim and have yet to get official confirmation from NBC, but for about $2.50-3.50 per month viewers will reportedly have access to full episodes of The Tonight Show and SNL, with the possibility of original comedy series exclusive to subscribers to follow.

Adam Scott and David Koechner to Star in Christmas Horror-Comedy 'Krampus'

Adam Scott and David Koechner are teaming up to star in the next Christmas classic. The Wrap reports that Scott has joined Koechner in Krampus, an upcoming horror-holiday film directed by Trick 'r Treat's Michael Dougherty based on the ancient legend of the Christmas devil who punishes misbehaving children. Scott and Koechner will play fathers whose kids go missing, and Allison Tolman, Emjay Anthony, and Toni Collette round out the cast. The film is slated for a December 4, 2015 release.

Fred Savage to Play Rob Lowe's Brother in Fox Pilot 'The Grinder'

Kevin Arnold is back! Well, kind of. According to THR, child star-turned-director Fred Savage has signed on to star opposite Rob Lowe in the Fox pilot The Grinder. Savage will play Dean's (Lowe) little brother Stewart Sanderson "who is constantly in his shadow. When Dean returns to his hometown looking for a new direction in life, everyone is dazzled by his charm and celebrity —except Stewart, whose nerves are quickly frazzling. But when Dean preempts an eviction case and makes it a cause celebre, Stewart is outraged by Dean's effrontery." Savage's last regular sitcom role was on 2006's Crumbs on ABC, but in recent years he's focused more on directing, having helmed episodes of beloved comedy series like Modern Family, Playing House, 2 Broke Girls, Happy Endings, and Party Down.

Second City's Finest: 31 Clips of Young Comedy Legends Before They Were Famous

Last year, we teamed up with Second City for a new column called "The Second City Archives," in which we debut a new and never-before-seen clip from the improv theatre's extensive archives each week featuring legendary performers of the past and present, from old-school throwbacks like John Belushi, Chris Farley, and Alan Arkin to today's comedy superstars like Steve Carell, Tina Fey, Keegan-Michael Key, Bob Odenkirk, and tons more. Together with Second City, we've unearthed over thirty classic clips so far, so this week we're taking a look back all of them: READ MORE

truTV Orders The Grawlix's 'Those Who Can't' to Series

Denver comedy group The Grawlix is officially headed to truTV. The network announced today that it's given a 10-episode series order to its first scripted comedy from Grawlix, Those Who Can't, which was ordered to pilot in December. The series will follow three Denver high school teachers played by Adam Cayton-Holland, Andrew Orvedahl, and Ben Roy, and Eagleheart's Maria Thayer has also been cast as a school librarian. Those Who Can't will debut on truTV sometime next year.

Those Who Can't is the latest in a big comedy push at truTV, which recently ordered a prank show from David Spade, more Billy on the Street, Adam Conover's Adam Ruins Everything, and Shaq's workplace comedy Shaq Inq. For more on Those Who Can't, check out our interview with The Grawlix guys back when it was a pilot at Amazon.

IFC Cancels 'Garfunkel and Oates' After One Season

Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci's IFC comedy Garfunkel and Oates is no more. Deadline reports that the network has decided not to renew the freshman musical comedy — which aired its first 10-episode season last year — for a second season. Garfunkel and Oates joins The Birthday Boys in IFC's recent round of comedy cancellations, but don't worry: Lindhome already has a new series, Another Period, in the works at Comedy Central with Natasha Leggero, so expect to see more of this comedy-folk pair on your TV screen in the near future.

How 'Mad About You' Made One of the Boldest Bottle Episodes Ever

madaboutyou-theconversation‘Genie in a Bottle’ is a recurring feature where each week a different bottle episode (an episode set entirely in one location, often designed to save money) from a comedy series is examined

“This whole scene is one shot. The camera hasn’t moved in twenty minutes.”

“What’s the big deal?”

The quote up above appears in the episode’s tag where Paul and Jamie Buchman are watching a movie together and Jamie is unimpressed by the film’s one-take approach. “The Conversation” is arguably an unpopular episode (and if you check out IMDB, a lot of users are quick to accuse it as being “boring”). It’s smart for the series to at least address this side of the argument in the episode’s closing moments, but in spite of this not being for everyone, it’s an incredible effort and a very atypical piece of television.

When Mad About Youentered its sixth season, the show introduced the idea of relative newlyweds, Paul and Jamie Buchman, giving birth to a baby daughter named Mabel. Stories were now heavily revolving around having a newborn, rather than the previous material focusing purely on their marriage. This evolution of their relationship opened a lot of doors for them, and allowed an episode like this to be attempted in the first place. Here Paul and Jamie have an uninterrupted 20-minute conversation in front of Mabel’s bedroom door, trying to train Mabel to learn how to sleep on her own. It’s an idea that Reiser and Hunt had wanted to attempt since the series’ conception, apparently.

When this episode was originally broadcast on NBC, it was even aired uninterrupted, with commercials airing only after the theme song and before the end credits (a move that felt like it was being implemented in Archer’s recent “Vision Quest” foray into the genre, but wasn’t, surely due to the increasing dominance of advertisers now versus then). The 20-minute conversation between Paul and Jamie outside the baby's room, filmed in one take, is shown straight through. There are absolutely no hidden cuts here like shows often have to resort to when attempting this idea. They did this all as one take, with the entire thing memorized, and if nothing else, that’s an incredible feat that just isn’t seen anymore. Murray the dog is even added briefly as an impressive piece to this Rube Goldberg-like machine that could break at any moment. READ MORE

The Season 6 'Community' Trailer Has Arrived

At long last, Community makes its glorious return on Yahoo on Tuesday, March 17th, and the first trailer just dropped. Meta references are made, inmate students are accepted, new cast members are introduced, degrees are given to dogs…and plenty more. Prepare for the dawn of the Age of Yahoo.

FXX Renews Simon Rich's 'Man Seeking Woman' for a Second Season

manseekingwomanGreat news for fans of SNL alum Simon Rich: FXX announced today that his new comedy starring Jay Baruchel Man Seeking Woman has been renewed for a second, 10-episode season. "Simon Rich has delivered an incredibly smart and original take on the search for love,” FX exec Nick Grad said on the news. "Critics and fans alike have embraced his unique storytelling, [EP] Jon Krisel’s stunning visuals and the brilliant performances of Jay Baruchel, Eric Andre and the rest of the cast that has made Man Seeking Woman one of the best new comedies on television." Rich added: "Working on Man Seeking Woman has been the creative highlight of my life. FXX gave us the freedom to make the show we love and they let us build some truly disgusting monsters."

Jon Stewart Kicked WWE's Seth Rollins in the Balls Last Night

There's been a war brewing between Jon Stewart and WWE wrestler Seth Rollins over the past month, which started when Rollins publicly insulted Stewart and The Daily Show during a WWE show in Orlando, which led to Stewart posting an ominous video response for Rollins, which led to Rollins crashing the end of last Thursday's Daily Show and challenging Stewart to a fight on Monday Night Raw. Not one to turn down a challenge, Stewart showed up during last night's show and had some harsh words for Rollins not long before delivering a swift kick to the wrestler's balls: "You may be stronger than me, you may be better looking than me, you may be taller than me, you may be able to lift your arms above your shoulders — which I used to be able to do but can't — but let me tell you this: I have something you'll never have, and that's respect." Watch the full clip above.

A Discussion About Philosophy and Spirituality with Eddie Pepitone

eddiepepitoneOn his new full length comedy album, In Ruins, Eddie Pepitone lives up to his Bitter Buddha reputation with passionate diatribes on everything from the cost of war to his ongoing existential crisis. Like a well-caffeinated sidewalk preacher, Pepitone delivers his sermon with an improvisational flow that can only come from a seasoned mind full of too many competing ideas. He is a true comic philosopher, willing to hold himself up to the evils and tragedy that he sees in the world. I talked to Pepitone about his search for spirituality, the little joys in life and what he would like to see more of in standup comedy.

You're a big advocate for meditation and the philosophical quest to become a better person. At the same time, you have a joke on the new album where you say that you got addicted to Vicodin because you couldn't afford a real vacation.

That's the constant struggle, man. It's classic. The enlightened part of us versus the primal animal in us that just wants pleasure. My whole life has been a struggle against instant gratification. Especially in today's world where you can go on the internet and see pornography, or order food to be delivered, or watch movies. Instant gratification is so unbelievable now. I'm so glad I quit smoking pot and drinking because if I was still doing that I don't think I would travel. I don't think I would be productive at all. My whole thing with getting high and all of that was just to zone out into pleasure. We can pleasure ourselves to death. One of the books I'm reading right now is called Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman and it's all about that. READ MORE