In a recent Salon interview, Bob Odenkirk warns aspiring writers to “get out of comedy, because it’s about to collapse.” Sketch comedy, he says, is having its time in the sun now — what with YouTube, Comedy Central’s burgeoning lineup and the legions of theater sketch teams popping up all over — but the market is becoming saturated. What’s next then? He suggests that once the market tires of short sketches, it may turn to more long-form, dramatic material. “I do think that after sketch comes story,” he speculates.
And when you look at the TV landscape, that makes sense. (Plus, Odenkirk’s been ahead of the game for years. [...]
IFC today unveiled its development slate, made up of three pilots and eight script orders, all of them comedies. The network is set to launch a 20-episode second season of Comedy Bang Bang and new comedies Maron, The Birthday Boys, and The Spoils of Babylon later this year, and they're showing no signs of slowing down their comedy output. In addition to a pilot centered on musical comedy duo Garfunkel and Oates, IFC has ordered scripts for Stupid Life, co-created by Chris Gethard and Tom Scharpling and starring Gethard; Two Idiots, which comes from co-creator Megan Mullally and follows a pair of rich women who grew up in a [...]
The 2012 Black List was just announced yesterday, an annual ranking of the year's most popular unproduced screenplays, as voted by hundreds of film executives and compiled by Franklin Leonard. Each year, the list helps to get hard-working writers' names out there and to push some movies into production. Movies that have been in the past after first appearing on the Black List include Juno, Lars and the Real Girl, and 500 Days of Summer. Some have criticized the Black List for catering to movies that are already in development or for the list being easily manipulated by powerful agents, managers, and assistants; but despite any of those [...]
This has been a transitional season for NBC's comedy department, with the network seemingly abandoning developing hip young shows like Parks and Rec, 30 Rock, and Community to focus on more traditional, broadly-appealing sitcoms like Go On and The New Normal (with much better results, ratings-wise). NBC Entertainment Jennifer Salke spoke to TV Guide today about the changes to the network's comedy strategy:
"We just want a different brand. We don't want a narrow brand in the sense of some of those shows that we inherited here, which we're huge fans of, [but] have a very narrow audience… It would be easy if we hated those shows, but we actually [...]
"…in an increasingly noisy world of information and digital interactions, comedy can still deliver the truth in a way that captures people's attention and does so in an essentially human way. As the definition of media grows from 'news' and 'video' to anything that acts as an interface to our world (duh, medium!), comedy must follow. Given the world we live in, that means the bombardment of marketing messages we experience, all of our online and digital experiences and the physical world." - Baratunde Thurston, in a post on his blog that announces his departure from The Onion and discusses the importance of comedy in today's society.
The Paley Center for Media, which has locations in both New York and LA, dedicates itself to the preservation of television and radio history. Inside their vast archives of more than 150,000 television shows, commercials, and radio programs, there are thousands of important and funny programs waiting to be rediscovered by comedy nerds like you and me. Each week, this column will highlight a new gem waiting for you at the Paley Library to quietly laugh at. (Seriously, it’s a library, so keep it down.)
This summer, with the events of Ferguson, Missouri making headlines around the world, a lot of people were talking about California in the early [...]
Austin-based film/music/comedy festival South by Southwest (or SXSW as the cool kids call it) just announced its comedy lineup, running from 3/9 to 3/16, and it's jam-packed with most of the funniest people going. There are live shows from Comedy Bang Bang, the UCB, Burning Love, The Chris Gethard Show, James Adomian, The Creek and the Cave, and a screening of Marc Maron's upcoming IFC show Maron, plus appearances from Sarah Silverman, Michael Cera, Fred Armisen, Tim & Eric, and a ton more comedians and live tapings of most of the big podcasts. Head over to SXSW's site for the schedule and to buy a badge to attend [...]
The latest episode of Scott Moran's excellent web series "Modern Comedian," in which he makes a short documentary about a different comedian each week, focuses on Power Violence, an L.A.-based group of comedians/skatepunks who make videos and run on a terrific weekly comedy show. This is the first episode of "Modern Comedian" that's produced by PBS Digital, which is a pretty exciting development for Moran and his web series. In their "Modern Comedian" installment, you get to see the Power Violence guys' intense pre-show ritual, the giant mansion they all live in together, and some haircut tomfoolery at a Wal-Mart. Doin' PBS proud.
Critically-acclaimed British stand-up Simon Amstell has a new special, Do Nothing, that's making its US debut this Saturday at 11/10c on BBC America. Amstell, whom we interviewed earlier this year, opens the special with the line, “I’m quite lonely, let’s start with that” and goes from there. Don't let the accent fool you, you xenophobes: he’s all the things we like in an American comedian: neurotic, awkward, pensive, and full of anxiety, so you should give him a chance.
Yesterday, we published a review of Paul, the new film from Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, and how much of its humor comes from Pegg and Frost’s obsession with science fiction. Comedy and sci-fi, I’d argue, are the two genres with the most passionate fanbases, and to combine them is tricky, but potentially rewarding. Below are five of the finest sci-fi comedies and three of the worst.
The US comedy industry is currently larger than it's ever been, employing more writers, directors, actors, and comedians than ever before, spread across all different types of media both new and old. While the ways in which we consume comedy have changed, one thing that hasn't is the frequency of two-person comedy acts. We rounded up a list of some of the funniest duos going, pairs of comedians who move from project to project but keep working together. Many of the comedians on this list don't fall into the traditional straight man/crazy person dynamic, but those that do (like The Best Show's Tom Scharpling and Jon Wurster) do it in a new [...]
"Comedy has run alongside rock and indie rock for a long time. John Lennon was funny, so were David Bowie, Ween, Lou Reed, and Devo. The Clash even wrote hilarious liner notes for Sandinista. I have found that even the most serious of bands have had their own inside jokes."
- Fred Armisen to Fast Company in an excellent piece on the intersection of comedy and rock that features quotes from Marc Maron, Tom Scharpling, Aimee Mann, Ben Gibbard, and, best of all, an awesome infographic.
Out magazine released the Out100 this week, its annual ranking of the 100 most influential people in the LGBT community, and comedians Eliot Glazer and Brent Sullivan made the list for their excellent web series, It Gets Betterish. Glazer and Sullivan co-wrote and co-star in the series, about a pair of gay guys trying to fit in with the gay community. The duo is currently pitching a project based on It Gets Betterish to TV networks. Other comedy folk on the Out100 this year include Jane Lynch (deemed "entertainer of the year" by Out) and Book of Mormon/New Normal star Andrew Rannells. Sadly, it looks like Ant [...]
In our interview last week, Bill Hader mentioned interviewing Chris Rock at the Nantucket Film Festival. Well, apparently, this interview was part of a roundtable that also included Ben Siller and Jim Carrey. Luckily, the conversation was filmed and will air on September 28 at 10pm on EPIX. In our interview, Hader said they talked about Lorne Michaels "pretty much the whole time," so at minimum it's worth watching to hear all four's Lorne impression.
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