April 22nd, 2015

I Bet I Would Really Like the Second Season of 'Other Space'

otherspaceRecently I was in a bookstore, where I overheard one employee making fun of another’s embarrassing taste in comedy. “So you have like, a dumb sense of humor,” she said, “This is really revelatory.” The TV show she thought was so laughably bad was Broad City. Her coworker weakly tried to defend what some might call The Best Most Important Comedy I Can Currently Name Particularly When, Like Now, I Am Dumbed with Rage by How Smug This Store Clerk Was, but the girl stopped him. “I watched the pilot?” As if she had minored in Bevers Studies at NYU. “So, I got it.”

I think we can all agree, as reasonable human media consumers, that we should not be able to judge a show by its pilot (and also that the pilot of Broad City is great, and that that store clerk is probably now dead from her own self-satisfied wrongheadedness, having walked directly into traffic because she thought she knew where she was going but thanks). In many later-great cases, shows can’t even be judged by their abbreviated first seasons — the first six Offices, the first six Parks and Recs, even the first five Seinfelds. When comedies are heavily character-based, reliant on audience familiarity and actor chemistry, they necessarily take time to gel.

This brings us to Other Space and its 8-episode first season, currently streaming on Yahoo! Screen.

Some appetites (mine, maybe yours?) were whet for Other Space after reading the New Yorker’s profile of Allison Jones. Jones is a low-key comedy icon, the casting director responsible for the big breaks of everyone from Seth Rogen to Jonah Hill to basically the whole cast of The Office. The New Yorker followed her as she cast Other Space for her dear old friend, Ghostbusters: The Lady Reboot director and Freaks and Geeks co-creator Paul Feig. She was tasked with assembling a top-notch cast of relative unknowns to play Captain Stewart Lipinski and his inept, young crew, and she did it. Really well.

But, as The Office, Parks and Rec, and Seinfeld proved, that is just the first step. And I bet the second season of Other Space would really be something to talk about. READ MORE

Tommy Wiseau Discusses Americans, Chickens, and Questions He Hates

TommyWiseauHeadshotTommy Wiseau and his cult-classic film The Room are two of the greatest mysteries of the entertainment industry. Since its release in 2003, traditions have formed around midnight screenings of The Room that are similar to those that surround The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Most notably, at each viewing, fans come dressed as their favorite character, bring along with them an arsenal of shoutouts, and engage in various act-outs such as throwing spoons at the screen. Wiseau and his origins are the subject of great debate, to such an extent that co-star Greg Sestero and journalist Tom Bissell teamed up in 2013 to publish the widely acclaimed book The Disaster Artist, which  documents the development of Wiseau’s enigmatic six-million dollar film and posits some theories with regards to Wiseau’s history. Fans can look forward to the film adaptation of this book by Seth Rogen's production company, Point Grey Pictures, with none other than James Franco portraying Wiseau.

More recently, Wiseau has been developing his new sitcom, The Neighbors. The series is available on Hulu, and follows the mishaps of various tenants in an apartment complex. Wiseau portrays two of the show’s characters: Charlie, the protagonist and ‘manager’ of the complex, and Ricky Rick, the show’s main antagonist. The other characters in the series range from a woman who spends much of her time screaming and running around the apartment with a live chicken, a stoner, women in bikinis, a muscular repair man, a basketball-loving youth who rarely makes good on his debts, and countless others that could only be born from the mind of Tommy Wiseau.

I recently had the opportunity to talk to Wiseau about the significance of some of the elements of his series, his expectations, and the questions that he wishes people would stop asking. Wiseau promised to award me with medals for my final two questions. READ MORE


Watch 'Inside Amy Schumer's Perfect 'Friday Night Lights' Parody

Season 3 of Inside Amy Schumer premiered on Comedy Central last night, and if the above Friday Night Lights parody is any indication, we can expect another fantastic season from Schumer and crew. In the sketch, guest star Josh Charles — who appeared last season in the Sorkin parody "The Foodroom" — joins Schumer for some spot-on small town football drama, and the rest is better seen than explained. Like "A Very Realistic Military Game," "Football Town Nights" is proof that, in the hands of talented writers and performers, serious issues like sexism and rape culture can turn into comedy gold.

Paul Rudd Finally Soaks His David Letterman Fab Club Sponge

Paul Rudd took advantage of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity during his visit to last night's Late Show. Considering it was his final Late Show interview with Dave, Rudd figured it was the perfect time to whip out all the goodies he got as a member of the unauthorized David Letterman Fan Club including a very special sponge he's waited thirty years to soak in water. It was a long time coming, but it looks like the wait was worth it.

Kumail Nanjiani Tells Seth Meyers About His Weirdest 'Silicon Valley' Fan Encounters

Here's a clip from Kumail Nanjiani's visit to last night's Late Night, where he looks back at some Silicon Valley scenes that have led to some very strange fan encounters. Nanjiani also has a message for anyone debating the accuracy of the math used in the show: If you think it's wrong, take it up with the Stanford professor who wrote it. Watch another clip from Nanjiani's interview below: READ MORE

Netflix Orders a New Comedy Series from Aziz Ansari and Mike Schur

Aziz Ansari is headed to Netflix with his very own show. According to THR, the streaming network has ordered a 10-episode half-hour comedy series starring Ansari, co-created by former Parks and Recreation Alan Yang, and executive produced by Parks and Rec co-creator Mike Schur. No plot details have been revealed, but the untitled series is reportedly based on Ansari's life, and H. Jon Benjamin, Lena Waithe, Eric Wareheim, Noël Wells, and Bob's Burgers writer Kelvin Yu will round out the supporting cast. Production on the show has already kicked off in New York.

Beck Bennett Seduces Kate McKinnon in the Latest Episode of 'Notary Publix'

Here's the latest episode of Kate McKinnon and her sister Emily Lynne's Above Average web series Notary Publix featuring Beck Bennett, who plays a handsome notary sent to seduce Gina with some not very romantic motives. As usual, the episode includes an exclusive behind-the-scenes look with master actors Ashlaheigh Braun-Samuels and Kulie Bishop.

CollegeHumor Is Making a New Late Night Show for MTV, 'Middle of the Night Show'

Big Breakfast, CollegeHumor's production company, has just had its first TV series picked up by MTV. Middle of the Night Show is a late night show that'll be (co-)hosted by CH's Brian Murphy and is based on CH's "Midnight Talk Show Prank" video from 2011. Here's how they describe the premise:

Middle of the Night Show is a fast-paced reimagining of the late-night comedy talk show that brings it out of the studio and onto the streets of New York City. Each night the show’s crew and live band crash the bedroom of an unsuspecting celebrity who is forced to host a talk show on the spot without any preparation and on very little sleep. CollegeHumor's Brian Murphy serves as the celebrity's co-host and guide throughout the evening.

No word yet on when it'll premiere.

Keith Apicary Proves He's Tough Enough to Be a WWE Wrestler

Look out, WWE, because there's a new man in town who wants to be your next superstar wrestler. Comedian Nathan Barnatt's alter ego Keith Apicary has been campaigning to get on WWE for the last few months, and today he released a new video featuring supporters of his cause like Scott Aukerman, Garfunkel and Oates, Lauren Lapkus, Maculay Culkin, Keith's mom, WWE wrestlers Rikishi and Dolph Ziggler, and tons more. We believe in you, Keith!

Paramount Is Developing a 'Galaxy Quest' TV Series

1999 sci-fi parody Galaxy Quest might get the TV treatment. According to Deadline, Paramount is currently developing a television series based on the film with original writing/directing/producing team Robert Gordon, Dean Parisot, and Mark Johnson attached to co-executive produce. The original Galaxy Quest starred Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, Tony Shalhoub, Sam Rockwell, Daryl Mitchell, Enrico Colantoni, and Justin Long, but there's no word yet whether any of them will return to appear in the TV version.

'All In the Family' Sums Itself Up in a Storeroom

‘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

"And how could any man that loves you tell you anything that's wrong?"

All in the Family is mandatory sitcom viewing. It came at the perfect time, while dealing with the perfect issues, and it was just the best kind of lightning in a television set possible. Norman Lear’s feather-ruffling comedy ran for nine seasons and over 200 episodes, before it transformed into the less fundamental, but still more satisfying than it deserved to be, Archie Bunker’s Place for an additional four seasons.

Lear was no stranger to controversy, with his sitcoms often reflecting the political activism that dominated the rest of his life, with important programs like Sanford and Sons, The Jeffersons, and Maude spilling out of him. All in the Family was often seen as the jewel in this activism crown, as the series depicted curmudgeons Edith and Archie Bunker. Archie being dead-set in his antiquated ways and how these intermingled with the world around him consistently led to cutting edge comedy being produced. Comedy that took it upon itself to inform their audiences and come from a place of racial and societal inequality, all while making us laugh.

All in the Family was very much about understanding and accepting why Archie acted the way in which he did. We never expected the series to “fix” him, or that a proper series finale would depict Archie as a changed man. No, that’s never what this was about, but rather learning why someone is the way that they are, and loving them in spite of that.

If that’s what All in the Family’s mission statement was, then this episode more than works as the answer to that question. It so succinctly captures the point of the series that many viewers have since viewed it as the unofficial series finale to the show (as well as it being O’Connor’s favorite episode of the series). That’s how satisfying and charged these twenty-four minutes of television are. READ MORE

HBO Orders a Pilot and Standup Special by Whitney Cummings

Comedian and 2 Broke Girls co-creator Whitney Cummings is going into business with HBO. Deadline reports that the pay network has ordered a pilot for a half-hour comedy from Cummings based on Maureen Dowd's 2005 book Are Men Necessary? When Sexes Collide. Cummings created the series and will also write and star in the pilot, which is described as — and get ready for it, because it's a mouthful — "a comedic portrait of modern relationships that focuses on human nature and social construction using documentary elements and appearances from experts to help the characters understand the biological basis of their behavior." In addition to the pilot, Cummings will also film her first HBO standup special this fall; it's slated to premiere on the network sometime next year.

The Next Wave 2015: The Top Up-and-Coming Comics in Los Angeles

nextwave-la-2015Welcome to the second semi-annual edition of The Next Wave, Splitsider’s roundup of exciting new comic voices from around the country.

Splitsider readers are no doubt familiar with most of the established stand-ups in the country – ones who have risen up via TV appearances, podcasts, Twitter — but what about the newer names who will be popping up on everybody's radars over the next year or two?

Today we’re taking a look at the biggest, fastest growing comedy scene in the country: Los Angeles. Land of endless summer, countless TV writing gigs, and hundreds of amazing comedy shows every week, LA’s the best place to discover your next favorite performer (before they make it big). We reached out to some of the city’s most informed comedy bookers, festival producers, journalists, and industry insiders, and asked them to share their current favorite up-and-comers with us. The Next Wave was compiled with input and guidance from:

Troy Conrad (Set List, Prompter)
Jamie Flam (Hollywood Improv)
Emily V. Gordon (The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail)
Mandee Johnson and Joel Mandelkorn (The Super Serious Show, Hot Tub with Kurt and Kristen)
Jake Kroeger (The Comedy Bureau)
Abbey Londer (Riot LA Comedy Festival)
Matt Lottman and Frank Chad Muniz (Comedy Living Room)
Julie Seabaugh (Variety, Rolling Stone)


Lena Dunham Says Season 6 of 'Girls' Will Probably Be Its Last

Lena Dunham is currently filming the fifth season of Girls, and while it hasn't officially been renewed for a sixth season yet, Dunham recently told Variety that season 6 will most likely be the show's final run. "I think America has a tendency to push shows past their due dates," she said. "I like the British model — in and out." Dunham isn't sure yet where Girls will leave Hannah at the very end: "Will she be with anyone? That's the question. And how important is it ending up with someone, and is that the marker of success for a woman?" If you're sad that Girls won't extend past season 6, don't worry — if Dunham has her way, Hannah and crew will reunite in a decade for a Girls movie: "I have fantasies of us all coming back when we're 40. We’d want to wait long enough for something to have really gone down."