On a recent episode of Tom Green Live, John Mulaney told the story of how he got to meet the Obamas when he helped write for Seth Meyers's White House Correspondents Dinner performance in 2011. It turns out that introducing himself right after Chappelle's Show co-creator Neal Brennan was not the best technique for getting some love from Barack and Michelle.
Back in July, Tommy Wiseau released a teaser for his long in-the-works sitcom The Neighbors, and he recently added the first full length trailer as well as a list of screenings in November and December. This trailer alone is full of carefully crafted lines we will no doubt quote for centuries to come, such as "Hi Monica, how're ya doin'?" "Whoaaa!" and "Aaaggghh!" Head over to the official Neighbors website to see if Wiseau's latest masterpiece will be screened in a theater near you.
Originality is as crucial as it is difficult to achieve. That's true of any pursuit, not just comedy. The thing is: if you're unoriginal in heart surgery or tax preparation or landscaping, it's not a bad thing. "This person gets it," your clients might say about you and, while you're not breaking new ground, you're…stalwart. But in the arts, innovation is key. Derivativeness is only tolerable in the smallest of doses, as a stepping stone for the non-creatives in your audience, a relatable touchpoint that level sets them before descending into maddening newness. Ben Seeder's short Todd Halloween, directed by Andy DeYoung, is decidedly in the "fuck touchpoints" camp. Many people will not understand why this is brilliant. For those who do, it's an inspiration to reach beyond the temptation to put a "twist" on what's familiar. It's a reminder that, in an industry full of strivers, the best way to be remembered is to blow the doors off "comfortable."
How did you get your start in comedy?
Ben Seeder: I’m originally from Chicago and I started performing at iO years ago when I was 19. I did a bunch of shows at iO and Annoyance and did the whole Second City conservatory program. I did a whole bunch of shows all over town. I moved to LA with a sketch partner of mine based off a show that we did. I’ve been here for about six years now. I went to DePaul University so I was lucky because I got to get a start at doing improv early because I was already there as opposed to having to wait until after college. I was in the thick of it.
And you were in We Bought a Zoo.
Yeah, that was great. I had shot a bunch of commercials while I was here and had been on hold for a couple of shows that didn’t really go anywhere so that was kind of a great boost of confidence to be picked by Cameron. He’s a great guy and I just learned so much from him being on set. He’s someone where I really lucked out on because he’s in that select group of directors like Apatow, Lorne Michaels, and Christopher Guest who get to call the shots a little bit more than a regular director would. READ MORE
Jason Bateman has another film lined up. Deadline reports that Bateman will both direct and star in a film adaptation of the 2013 Wired magazine article by Joshua Davis called "Meet The Man Who Sold His Fate To Investors At $1 A Share." Bateman will play the lead character based on the real-life story of Mike Merrill, whose decision to sell stock in himself "created a host of problems … when shareholders demanded control over life decisions like whether to have a vasectomy or even whether he should move in with his longtime girlfriend (and minority shareholder)." Transparent writers Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster co-wrote the script. IPO Man will make Bateman's third directing gig following 2013's Bad Words and upcoming film The Family Fang starring Nicole Kidman.
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.
With Election Day right around the corner and Bob Odenkirk now on a nationwide book tour, there's no better time to unearth this clip from Second City's 1990 revue Flag Smoking Permitted in Lobby Only or Censorama featuring ensemble performers Chris Farley, Tim Meadows, Bob Odenkirk, Jill Talley, Tim O'Malley, David Pasquesi, and Holly Wortell. In the above sketch "Debate," Odenkirk and Pasquesi face off as two political candidates who try to one-up each other with public confessions. Odenkirk went on to create and star in Mr. Show with David Cross just a few years later, where they aired a "Debate" sketch of their own starring Odenkirk, Jerry Minor, and Paul F. Tompkins.
"Making a comedy about Islamic State is like trying to defuse a bomb. One mistake and you die. Somehow, we've managed to avoid blowing ourselves up, thanks to God."
- The Los Angeles Times has a fascinating interview out today with Thair Chiad, creator and writer for new Iraqi half-hour sketch comedy show State of Superstition, which has aired multiple sketches mocking ISIS despite receiving death threats in the process.
The San Francisco comedy group Kasper Hauser has a knack for the absurd. For instance, their name is derived from that of a mysterious 19th century feral child from Germany. But beyond the far flung fringes of the unusual exists a sharp grasp of the delicate balance between comedy and tragedy. Since 2000, Kasper Hauser's four members — Dan Klein, James Reichmuth, John Reichmuth and Rob Baedeker — have been writing and performing comedy that adequately represents where they are existentially, both as a group and as individuals. They have just released SkyMaul2: Where America Buys His Stuff, their second parody of the popular SkyMall airline catalog. I talked to James Reichmuth and Rob Baedecker about the new book, the group's history and the significance of bowling a 298. READ MORE
It's been nearly five years since Max Weinberg left his post as Conan O'Brien's late night drummer, but thanks to a mishap with current Conan drummer James Wormworth falling down an abandoned mine shaft, last night Weinberg got the perfect opportunity reunite with his old friend.
Ahead of the premiere of his new film Top Five, Chris Rock returns to host SNL this week for the first time since 1996 with musical guest Prince, and NBC just released the first promo reel featuring Rock and Bobby Moynihan wandering outside 30 Rock at night and talking all things Prince. It all makes sense considering that Prince has an eight-minute jam session planned for Saturday night.
Amy Poehler visited her old friend Seth Meyers last night, and the two looked back on the week Meyers had to anchor Weekend Update solo due to Poehler's completely inconsiderate decision to give birth to her first son. Watch more from Poehler's interview — where she claims to have no memory of meeting Meyers for the first and second times — below: READ MORE