May 19th, 2015

Watch "Rooftop Party", a Pretaped 'SNL' Sketch Cut From the Season Finale

Here's a pretaped short that was cut for time from this past weekend's SNL finale, "Rooftop Party," in which Jay Pharoah just wants everybody to give him everything, whether or not it makes sense.

Denver's High Plains Comedy Festival Unveils Headliner Anthony Jeselnik and Its Initial Lineup

""Denver's High Plains Comedy Festival, the event put on by outgoing heads of the Denver comedy scene class Grawlix, has announced its initial lineup for this summer's festivities. The festival, taking place from August 20-22, will be headlined by Anthony Jeselnik, with a slew of great comedians also signed on to perform. The lineup includes: Kurt Braunohler, Jonah Ray, Matt Braunger, Guy Branum, Emily Heller, Beth Stelling, John Early, Kate Berlant, Jay Larson, Sean Patton, Adam Cayton-Holland, Ben Roy, and Andrew Orvedahl.

More comedians, including a lineup of Denver locals, are expected to be added to the lineup in the coming months.

Photo by Evan Sémon.

The Dark Humor of Harry Nilsson

nilssonschmilssonThe cover of Harry Nilsson’s most critically acclaimed album, 1971’s Nilsson Schmilsson, shows a disheveled Nilsson wearing a robe, one hand in his pocket and the other holding a hash pipe. The album title and cover are perfect illustrations of the humor and apathy that encompassed Nilsson's musical career. Noel Murray of the A.V. Club wrote of Nilsson: "Nilsson became the musician’s musician, admired for his wild arrangements, his insistence on satisfying his own muse before making his record label happy, and his willingness to mock himself, the culture, and every notion of showbiz propriety."

Harry Nilsson liked nonsense. Though two of his most famous tracks, "Everybody's Talkin" and "Without You," are somber in tone, they aren’t emblematic of his career nor are they songs he wrote. It's not that Nilsson didn’t compose heartfelt songs, but so much of what actually represents Harry Nilsson is the nonsense, the humor, the randomness in his writing and performing.

Nilsson was famously close with John Lennon, Ringo Starr, The Monkees, and various other mainstream musicians of the '60s and '70s. But he never became the household name his contemporaries did—likely because of his erratic lifestyle (see his Lost Weekend with John Lennon) and increasing refusal to do something simply for commercial accessibility.

One constant in Nilsson's music was his humor — the subtle deadpan, blatant belligerence, and random wordplay in his records. His comedy may not have rivaled a Carlin or Pryor standup set, but for someone as proficient in music as Nilsson, it was a useful weapon in his arsenal. Musicians like Nilsson, Warren Zevon, and Randy Newman used satire and irony to assuage their somber side — like good comic relief in drama. READ MORE

Check Out Hannibal Buress's Webby Awards Monologue

Hannibal Buress hosted the Webby Awards last night, which are like the Oscars but much less relevant and with far fewer attractive people. But hey, an awards show is an awards show, so Buress kicked things off right with a great monologue that touched on such internetty topics as Tinder, Uber, and AOL.

'Frisky Dingo's Equalizing Bottle Episode Proves That Laughter is the Best Medicine

friskydingo‘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

"I know, I know. Nothing hurts like a scrape."

Frisky Dingo might have been Adult Swim’s craziest program that you never saw. Lasting a mere two seasons, the series was created by rapid dialogue extraordinaires Adam Reed and Matt Thompson, fresh off the heels of Sealab 2021’s cancelation. While a much broader program than Sealab, Frisky Dingo was also the stronger indication of the voice that Reed and Thompson would so strongly cultivate and would later be the backbone to FX’s more-successful Archer.

Frisky Dingo is a weird, wonderful animated series set in the hyperbolic world of superheroes and space aliens. Xander Crews and his Xtacles are a sublime takedown on the Bruce Wayne/Batman archetype, and the array of villains introduced in the series only get increasingly ridiculous. While Frisky Dingo was interested in a very particular niche, what’s even more amazing than the silly subject matter that they got into is watching Reed and Thompson’s ability as storytellers completely evolve into a new species.

Frisky Dingo is an incredibly funny show where nearly every line is a joke that’s being bazooka-ed in your face, but it’s also a deeply meticulously constructed series that at any moment feels like its camel’s back is going to shatter if another callback is placed on top of it. The show is seriously a feat in editing as almost every scene will connect into the next one with the following scene’s characters completing the first scene’s sentence. It’s a very hard feat to pull off, but one that becomes commonplace by the end of the series and would wind up deep into Archer’s DNA later down the road. This all culminates in Frisky Dingo feeling more like a hit of Adderall than an episodic television series. Every episode so seamlessly segues into the next one, overlapping and never relenting, that it’s surprisingly easy to watch entire seasons in one sitting. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a series that is so dense and callback-heavy, but it completely works. READ MORE

Check Out a New, Unreleased Track From Kyle Kinane's 'I Liked His Old Stuff Better'

Comedy Central Records just released the vinyl/audio version of Kyle Kinane's standup special I Liked His Old Stuff Better, and it includes an brand-new 20-minute track not included on the televised special. We've got an exclusive stream of it below: READ MORE

The 25 Best Sketches of 'SNL' Season 40

With SNL's 40th season wrapped up, we're taking a look back at the past year to recall the highs, lows, and other memorable moments as the show ended its fourth decade on the air. Here, we list some of our favorite sketches from this season — both videos and live sketches.

Though many still criticize SNL of being in a creative slump, with sagging ratings and various anniversary specials reminding viewers how great the show used to be, the sketches we've seen on the show recently tell a different story. Yes, there are fewer stock characters fans can immediately identify with the show — the familiar personas we've seen from Cecily Strong or Taran Killam aren't yet on par with the beloved icons created by Kristen Wiig or Bill Hader — and hardly any moments have possessed the viral potency of the Lonely Island. But the unspoken truth is that the film unit's production quality has actually upped its game, with directors Rhys Thomas, Matt & Oz, and Dave McCary doing amazing work. This season's live sketches have also seen improvement, with an increase in original material (recurring sketches are down to 20% from 25%), and at least a handful of truly inspired concepts routinely making their way into the lineup. And this season's biggest success story has been Weekend Update, with hosts Colin Jost and Michael Che making a night-to-day transition into a pairing we now look forward to seeing. Critics tend to praise newer "underdog" sketch shows like Inside Amy Schumer and Portlandia, ignoring a hit-to-miss ratio that's roughly equivalent to the easy-to-kick network TV goliath that's in no danger of cancellation. But as hip as it may be to claim otherwise, some of the sharpest, cleverest, gutsiest sketch comedy we've seen in the past year has come from the same place it has for the past 40 years.

So below are 25 sketches — 13 videos and 12 traditional live bits, in order of appearance — that suggest SNL in 2014-2015 could be as funny as it ever was. As has been the case in recent years, pre-taped segments appear to have the comedic edge over live bits. That seems to be an industry-wide trend: it has become more practical for writers aiming for a polished product that can translate to YouTube to edit it with the best takes and perfectly-timed cuts, rather than letting actors read it from cue cards in front of an audience of tourists. That said, there have also been plenty of raw, visceral performances that have continued to make Saturday Night Live a show best watched live. READ MORE

Chelsea Peretti Talked to Seth Meyers About Growing Up with Andy Samberg

Chelsea Peretti was on Late Night last night, and she talked to Seth about growing up with Andy Samberg, her disappointment in not getting to see the people she beat at the Webby Awards, and her strat for shaming her coach-flying friends when she's sitting in first class. Below, hear her story of trying to just get a glimpse of Rihanna at the SNL finale after party. READ MORE

David Letterman Has His Staff Help Him Out with One of His Last Top 10s Ever

On last night's Late Show, Dave had 10 of his staffers help him out with one of his very last Top 10 Lists, with them running down the things they'll miss about their jobs. It was a bittersweet list, as many of the folks on staff have been working with Dave for decades, with an unclear future before them.


What's on TV This Week: David Letterman Says Goodbye

lettermanIt's a week of finales and a farewell. Monday, 2 Broke Girls ends season four on CBS followed by the season five finale of Mike and Molly. Wednesday, Modern Family wraps season six, and Blackish finishes season one. Wednesday, we also say goodbye to Late Show host David Letterman who ends his run after 30 years.

New this week, Showtimes' Inside Comedy on Tuesday has Bryan Cranston and Carol Leifer, and Sunday, HBO has new episodes of Silicon Valley and Veep.

In late night, Fallon has guests Nick Offerman and Jeff Foxworthy, Conan has Betty White and Jay Larson, and Letterman welcomes his final guest Bill Murray. Chelsea Peretti, Mike Epps, Nick Swardson, and Richard Lewis stop by Meyers.

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

The 17th Annual Del Close Marathon's Schedule Is Out

DCM17The Del Close Marathon is the annual weekend of improv comedy, beer, and sweatiness that the UCB Theatre throws every year. This year marks the 17th iteration, and it looks like it'll be the biggest one yet, with three straight days of non-stop performances spread out across eight different NYC venues. You'll be able to buy an all-you-can-eat wristband for $35 at any of the venues, but there are also a slew of "premium" shows that are now on sale as well, including improv by folks from Broad City, Silicon Valley, Kroll Show, Key and Peele, and tons more. The schedule is completely overwhelming, but you can head over to the official DCM site to check it all out.

Maya Rudolph Sent Tulane's Class of 2015 Off with the Best "Star-Spangled Banner" Ever

The great Maya Rudolph gave Tulane's commencement speech this past weekend, and she wrapped up with the above barn-burner of a version of the "Star-Spangled Banner," complete with Oprah and Beyonce impressions and a nice segue into "Take Me Out to the Ballgame."

The Camel’s Dream, by Evan Waite and Frank Santopadre

“I may be 46 years old, but it is never too late to chase my rap dreams,” said the Camel to his wife. “I want to move the crowd!”

The Camel’s wife did not wish to hear this. For almost 20 years she had endured her husband’s delusions of becoming a world-famous rapper. “But your rhymes are stale,” groaned the Camel’s wife.

The Camel would not listen. He was convinced that the next mixtape would be the one to take him to the top, despite the fact that the last 12 had not. Day after day, the Camel recorded songs filled with empty braggadocio and clichéd imagery. His wife simply closed the door and tried not to think about it.

One day the Camel came to his wife with a new plan. “I shall quit my job at the post office so that I may focus all my energy on my music,” he said. “We can live off your salary until I receive my recording contract. Then we will eat lobster every night and purchase matching Bentleys.” READ MORE

Watch Jim Gaffigan's Tribute to David Letterman

It's hard to believe it's Letterman's last week on the air. But the silver lining to that very dark cloud is that we're getting a bunch of tributes to the man himself, including this touching one by Jim Gaffigan, which aired yesterday on CBS Sunday Morning.