Splitsider

August 27th, 2014

"Here's why it’s difficult to properly appreciate Phil Hartman. Because his characters were 20 percent droid. Because he reminded you more of your dad than your best pal. Because Hartman’s biggest gift was a kind of comedic graciousness, which he used to hide the show's seams and to make other funny people look good. As the writer Steve Lookner put it, 'How many people can you say that about on Saturday Night Live?'"

- Grantland examines the life, talent, and career of SNL legend Phil Hartman in a new feature out today called "The Glue."

Daniel Sloss and the Art of Telling Critics to Piss Off

daniel-slossAt only 23, Daniel Sloss has become one of the biggest draws at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The Scottish comic played to packed houses during his fun in a 400-seat lecture hall in Edinburgh, and he's about to take his show "Really?!" on tour throughout the UK. He's also got his eye on the US, having appeared three times on Conan in the last year. I caught up with him in Edinburgh to talk about being famous in his hometown, not letting reviewers into his show, and his first attempt at pilot season in the US.

I feel like a lot of Americans don’t quite understand Edinburgh. What’s the appeal of the Fringe to you?

People go, "But isn't it just you guys getting drunk?" You go, "Yeah. Like, why is that not cool?" Yeah, but also, the reason I do it so much is how much you improve as a comic, consistently. I think doing a show here for a month is the equivalent of doing two years on the circuit, because you don't have anyone before you, you don't have anyone after you. It's just you doing an hour and you learn so much about just everything. I'll do it every year just for the C.K. reason — a new hour every year. When C.K. came out and said, "I'm gonna write a new hour every year because Carlin did," I think every comedian just kind of went, "Oh, well I guess we all have to do that now, because if any of us want to be that good, that's clearly how it's done."

I wish there were more Americans who came over and took advantage of the festival.

I was talking to [Anthony] Jeselnik last week, we were at the Vodafone Comedy Festival in Dublin — I'm a big, big fan of his — and he was saying how he wanted to do it, but his agents were like, "It's not worth the money. You don't really make much." For a lot of comics, it's flushing six grand down the drain, but if you want to be the best that you can be, you kind of have to. I'm lucky enough that I'm Scottish so people come out and see me. It's the support-their-own sort of thing. And my agent's amazing, and my flyers and marketing team, so I have quite an easy run of the festival, which I'm very grateful for. READ MORE

The First Season of 'Transparent' Premieres on Amazon September 26th

Earlier this year Amazon ordered two of its new comedy pilots to series, and Variety reports that Jill Soloway's Transparent starring Jeffrey Tambor will debut its entire 10-episode season on Amazon Prime Instant Video on September 26th. The series also stars Judith Light, Gaby Hoffmann, Amy Landecker, and Jay Duplass with supporting roles throughout the season from Bradley Whitford, Alexandra Billings, Melora Hardin, Kathryn Hahn, and Carrie Brownstein.

The Transparent pilot is still available to view for Amazon Prime members; for more on the pilot, check out our review from February, then watch the first trailer for the series below: READ MORE

Chelsea Handler Says Her Goodbyes on the 'Chelsea Lately' Finale

Chelsea Handler hosted her final episode of Chelsea Lately last night after seven years on the air, and a bunch of Handler's favorite celebrity pals appeared to help her say goodbye to her E! era before she moves on to her new life at Netflix. Click through to watch Handler and friends close out the episode with a "We Are the World"-style song called "Goodbye to E!" READ MORE

Michael Che Attempts to Find a Safe Reporting Location on 'The Daily Show'

The Daily Show returned with a new episode last night, and during a segment on the recent shooting in Ferguson, correspondent Michael Che attempted to report on the event from a safe location for an unarmed black man — which, it turns out, doesn't exist at all.

Today's Funniest Tweets

Netflix Renews 'BoJack Horseman' Days After Its Premiere

Netflix's new animated series starring Will Arnett BoJack Horseman premiered on the streaming network this past Friday and already has a second season locked in. THR reports that the series has been officially renewed for a second 12-episode season. Aaron Paul, Amy Sedaris, Alison Brie, and Paul F. Tompkins round out the voice cast on BoJack, which follows Arnett as a horse who is a famous '90s sitcom star-turned-washed up celebrity. This is another item of good news for Arnett, who recently launched his own production company Electric Avenue, struck a development deal with CBS, and confirmed on The Tonight Show that more Arrested Development is on the way.

TV

"Once we started making the show, and we saw what we were actually doing, I sort of thought, Well, this show is not going to make you feel good. And we shouldn’t be feeling good! We’re shit people. We’re a shit culture. This is like punishment for being horrible. There’s so much feel-good stuff that comes out, especially in comedy now, where things are very cute and very clever and sort of like everybody’s in on the joke and winking. I feel like our show tends to try to be like a little more reminding of how awful things really are in the world."

- In a new interview with Vice, Tim Heidecker explains his approach to Tim and Eric's Bedtime Stories, which debuts on Thursday, September 18th on Adult Swim.

Last Night's Emmy Awards Scored the Second Highest Ratings in Eight Years

The ratings for last night's Emmy Awards are in, and Seth Meyers's turn at the hosting gig raked in a big audience. A total of 15.6 million viewers watched the live ceremony on NBC, making it the most-watched night on network TV since the Oscars in March as well as the highest viewed Emmys in the last eight years, second only to last year's ceremony hosted by Neil Patrick Harris that aired in September on a Sunday night with an NFL lead-in. Neither have met the 16.2 million viewer audience of the 2006 Emmys toplined by multiple-time host Conan O'Brien, the true king of the awards show hosting gig.

SNL

Saturday Night's Children: Alan Zweibel (1979-1980)

Saturday Night Live has been home to over a hundred cast members throughout the past 38 years. In our column Saturday Night’s Children, we present the history, talent, and best sketches of one SNL cast member every other week for your viewing, learning, and laughing pleasure.

There are many paths to getting hired on Saturday Night Live, but Alan Zweibel — who served as an original writer in 1975 and spent a portion of the fifth season credited as a featured player — had one all his own. Zweibel struggled as a young joke-seller before finding the perfect comedy collaborators on SNL, giving way to some of the most memorable characters of the show's early years, from the absurd physical comedy of John Belushi's Samurai to the fragile brilliance of Gilda Radner's Weekend Update regulars Emily Litella and Roseanne Roseannadanna. Zweibel went on to enjoy a steady career as a writer and producer of the stage, screen, and page, but it all began with his contributions to SNL and "platonic love affair" with the great Gilda "Bunny Bunny" Radner. READ MORE

Chris Hardwick Offers Some Honest Advice on Love, Health, Grandmas, and Murder

@midnight host Chris Hardwick had the honor of fielding some questions for Tonight Show's "Unqualified Advice" segment, which resulted in some timeless advice on hard-hitting topics like going to school, curing a cold, getting a promotion, not murdering your boss, and dealing with a grandmother who has a hoarding problem.

Michael Cera and Letterman Talk German Girlfriends and the World's Largest Basket

Here's a clip from last night's Late Show with guest Michael Cera, who tells Letterman all about his new German girlfriend and their recent road trip together that included a stop in Newark, Ohio to see the World's Largest Basket. Unfortunately Cera's girlfriend wasn't as impressed by the basket as Letterman seems to be.

Mike Epps Officially Lands the Lead Role in the Richard Pryor Biopic

After being stuck in development for ages, the Richard Pryor biopic has finally found its Pryor. Despite Nick Cannon hinting that he got the part last month, according to an update by director Lee Daniels, Mike Epps — who was first chosen for the role by Pryor and his wife Jennifer in 2005 and spent time with the legendary comedian before he died — has officially landed the role. The tweet Daniels posted shows Epps, Daniels, and Oprah posing together with the caption "Get ready y'all- #MikeEpps as #RichardPryor." Epps won the role over Marlon Wayans, Eddie Murphy, and Michael B. Jordan after his "explosive" screen test made him a favorite last week, and Deadline reports that Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway are both being considered for the role of Pryor's wife. You can read more on the Richard Pryor biopic's nearly 20-year development hell here.

UPDATE: It looks like Oprah's involvement in the biopic is more than just behind the scenes. Entertainment Tonight reports that Winfrey is now officially set to appear in the film as Pryor's grandmother Marie Carter.

Louis C.K., Sarah Silverman, and 'The Colbert Report' Win Emmys While Amy Poehler Gets Snubbed an 11th Time

The Emmy Awards aired on NBC last night, and there were a few predictable winners (Modern Family won for Directing, Supporting Actor, and Outstanding Comedy for the fifth time), some happy surprises (Louis C.K. won Outstanding Writing for his Louie episode "So Did the Fat Lady;" Sarah Silverman's We Are Miracles took home the Outstanding Variety Special award), and plenty of comedy snubs (Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Fred Armisen, and Amy Poehler, who has received a total of 11 Emmy noms now without a single win). As for the ceremony itself, host Seth Meyers kept his promise by sticking to jokes instead of big musical numbers or pre-taped segments and instead leaned on attendees like Billy Eichner, Jon Hamm, Fred Armisen, and later Andy Samberg and Weird Al to deliver the show's sillier moments.

Click through for the full list of winners as well as some clips from the show's biggest comedy moments, from Weird Al's parody of several TV theme songs to Billy Crystal's heartfelt tribute to Robin Williams. READ MORE