Abraham Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address 150 years ago this month, and documentarian Ken Burns has been asking people to film themselves reciting the famous speech and put it online at LearnTheAddress.org. Here's Stephen Colbert doing it in character as Lincoln with a beard and hat above and Conan O'Brien and Louis C.K., who does his with Jerry Seinfeld in the room, below (via Vulture):
Antenna Free TV has a piece today on a near-mythical pilot from 1996 called Pistol Pete, written by the also near-mythical Simpsons scribe John Swartzwelder. A kooky, comic western, and an unmade show on par with cult lost gems like Lookwell and Heat Vision and Jack, it starred Brian Doyle-Murray and Steve Kearney, whom Harris tinterviews. Swartzwelder even makes a brief statement about the show, and shows up in a photo, both of which are remarkable, because if you know anything about the incredibly reclusive comic genius, it's that he's an incredibly reclusive comic genius.
The Benny Hill Show towered over even Monty Python in terms of worldwide appeal and popularity in its hey day, which is just astounding. However, history rewards the victors and while Monty Python looms large over sketch comedy even today, Benny Hill has been reduced to a curious footnote in comedy history. While both share an enthusiasm for absurdity, Monty Python’s sketches often featured a healthy dose of cerebral satire buried within the anarchic foolishness. Hill, however, strikes modern viewers as broad and cartoonish, avoiding subtly altogether.
Make no mistake; Benny Hill was a huge comedic presence for twenty years (1969-1989) during the run of his titular The Benny [...]
The first Debbie Downer sketch on Saturday Night Live in May 2004 was a surprise hit, largely because of the cast’s inability to finish the sketch without breaking character, so it was expected that the character would be brought back for SNL’s season premiere in October. Unlike the first time around, the cast and host Ben Affleck managed to get through the sketch without laughing; the audience response was also comparatively tepid and the sketch came across as a disappointment. When the show was repeated, the rehearsal take was used, featuring the corpsing that made the first Debbie Downer sketch so enjoyable and a better response from the audience. [...]
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 120,000 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.)
Albert Brooks, stand-up, author, actor, and comedy legend, was recently interviewed in the January issue of Vanity Fair which was guest edited by Judd [...]