Posts tagged as rip

Comedy Legend Stan Freberg Has Died at Age 88

Stan Freberg, comedian, musician, radio host, record star, advertising pioneer, voice actor, and occasional puppeteer has passed away today at the age of 88. Freberg began his long career right out of high school in 1945 as the voice of a number of characters in the original Looney Tunes shorts before striking it out on his own with a series of Capitol Records recordings. These parodies and elaborate concept albums would later serve as a major inspiration for 'Weird Al' Yankovic.

His most famous works include his radio show, which was literally the last original comedy show produced during the golden age of radio, which we looked at in [...]

'The Simpsons' Co-Creator Sam Simon Dies at 59

Sad news: TMZ is reporting that television writer/director/producer and Simpsons co-creator Sam Simon died yesterday in Los Angeles at the age of 59 after a battle with cancer. Simon revealed on an episode of WTF back in 2013 that he was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer, and since then he's been donating nearly all of his Simpsons fortune to hunger and animal rights causes. He also teamed up with ABC News and Fusion last summer for an in-the-works documentary about the final months of his life. In addition to his work on The Simpsons, Simon has also written, directed, and produced for Cheers, Taxi, The Tracey Ullman [...]

Listen to the Final 'Comedy Bang! Bang!' with Harris Wittels

Scott Aukerman originally hadn't planned to release the latest episode of Comedy Bang! Bang! featuring Adam Scott, Chelsea Peretti, and Harris Wittels, but with the encouragement of his friends and those who knew Wittels before his tragic death last week, Aukerman ultimately decided to share the final Wittels CBB today. Aukerman's intro to the episode is an especially tough listen; here's an excerpt from it:

So a few days ago I didn't know if I wanted to even put out a show this week or put out a show next week, or, you know, even why continue? Why keep doing this stupid show? But in the conversation [...]

The Comedy Legends We Lost in 2014

We lost several funny people of note in 2014, but the year was a real doozy for comedy legends in particular, including writer/directors, TV announcers, critical mentors, and legendary performers we grew up watching. Many of the people below had careers so vast and influential that they’re impossible to sum up in a single paragraph. But I’ll try. So let’s bum ourselves out and then lift our glasses in remembrance. They are sorely missed.

'SNL' Alum Jan Hooks Dies at 57

Sad news: TMZ reports that Jan Hooks — a former cast member on SNL who also appeared on Designing Women, The Martin Short Show, 30 Rock, and more — died in New York City today at the age of 57. A rep confirmed that Hooks "had been battling a serious illness," though no further details have been released.

Hooks was an SNL cast member from 1986-1991; you can read more about her fantastic stint on the show here, then click through to watch "The Diner," one of her most memorable sketches with host Alec Baldwin.

A Famed Dermatologist Parodied on 'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt' Has Committed Suicide

A celebrity dermatologist that inspired a character on Tina Fey's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt has committed suicide. The New York Times confirms that Dr. Fredric Brandt, a beloved dermatologist who had an uncanny resemblance to Martin Short's Unbreakable plastic surgeon character Dr. Sidney Grant, committed suicide in his Florida home yesterday at the age of 65. According to one of his publicists, Brandt suffered from depression and was "devastated" by Short's character on Unbreakable, and another publicist told Page Six that the "show deeply hurt him, he was being made fun of because of the way he looks. It was mean, and it was bullying. But the show [...]

Rob Schrab Compiled All of Harris Wittels' Vines into One Video

Yesterday, Sarah Silverman Program co-creator and Community/Parks and Rec director Rob Schrab paid tribute to yet another hilarious side of Harris Wittels by combining all of his Vines into one video. Expect a lot of puns, food, silly accents, and priceless life advice like this gem: "An apple a day keeps the doctors away, which is bad cause what if you get sick? Don't eat apples."

Remembering Harris Wittels

The comedy community was dealt a huge blow yesterday when comedian and Parks and Recreation writer/producer Harris Wittels was found dead in his Los Angeles home of an apparent overdose. He was just 30 years old. Since then, countless friends, fans, and collaborators have been expressing their condolences and love for such a tragically short-lived talent, including Parks and Rec star Amy Poehler last night during a charity event: "Today, I lost a friend," she said. "I lost a dear, young friend in my life who was struggling with addiction. I’m sharing it with you because life and death live so close together, and we walk that [...]

Looking Back at the Nine 'SNL' Players Who Left Us Too Soon

When Jan Hooks — SNL cast member from 1986-1991 — died at the age of 57 last month, the show truly lost one of its stealthy greats. Like frequent sketch costar Phil Hartman, Hooks's incredible talent didn't need to call attention to itself, so it's only now, in hindsight and reruns, that the full measure of her brilliance is beginning to be calculated. Since SNL debuted in 1975, over 140 players have been in the cast, and nine have passed away from illness, drugs, or violence. Whether they leave us as beloved superstars with promising careers ahead of them or underappreciated and semi-forgotten talents with few recent onscreen [...]

Chicago Comedy and Theater Great Sheldon Patinkin Dies at 79

The Chicago theater and comedy community lost a big name yesterday with the news that Sheldon Patinkin, who mentored countless performers and directors and was an icon of the Second City community, died at age 79. Patinkin worked as the chair of Columbia College Chicago's theater department and as an artistic consultant at both Second City and Steppenwolf Theatre. He is regarded as a beloved mentor, teacher, and pioneer of the city's improvisational community for over 50 years and also chronicled the history of Second City in the 2000 book Second City: Backstage at the World's Greatest Comedy Theater. Here's an official statement from Second City [...]

Watch 'The Sarah Silverman Program's Tribute to Harris Wittels

Not long after posting a compilation of Harris Wittels Vines, Sarah Silverman Program co-creator Rob Schrab uploaded a new video yesterday looking back on Wittels' work and appearances on the show during his time as a writer. Be warned that this video contains a very NSFW snow sculpture as well as a cover of "First Day of My Life" by Silverman that will break your heart and make your eyes a little misty.

Read a Beautiful Eulogy for Harris Wittels by His Sister Stephanie

It's been nearly two weeks since writer and comedian Harris Wittels tragically died at the age of 30, and since then there's been an outpouring of remembrance from fans and fellow comics who loved Harris for his many comedy contributions. Yesterday, Harris' sister Stephanie Wittels Wachs wrote a beautiful eulogy for him on Medium, and it's a wonderful but heartbreaking look into who Harris was on a personal level with family, friends, and what he was like growing up. Here's an excerpt:

I want to say that we will never get over this loss, that it has ruined our family, torn us apart, and left us [...]

RIP Harris Wittels

Heartbreaking news: Earlier this afternoon, comedian and Parks and Recreation co-executive producer Harris Wittels was found dead in his home in Los Angeles. The exact cause of death has not yet been confirmed, but it's believed to be a drug overdose. Wittels has spoken about his struggles with sobriety many times in both his standup and podcast appearances, most notably during an episode of You Made It Weird with Pete Holmes in November.

In addition to his work on Parks and Rec, Wittels has written and produced for The Sarah Silverman Program and Eastbound & Down, and he was also the mastermind behind Humblebrag. Wittels was [...]

Remembering Jan Hooks

"Phil Hartman is my hero."

Jan Hooks sits next to me on a couch, nibbling a ham sandwich. We're at Michael O'Donoghue's Christmas party, listening to a live, Celtic band.

"Phil can do anything. He made me better."

I usually refrain from asking SNL vets about their on-air work, but I couldn't resist in Jan's case. When I mention how beautifully she and Phil worked together, Jan gave him all of the credit.

"Well, you're pretty great yourself," I reply, meaning every word.

Michael drifts by, touches Jan's shoulder. She smiles and squeezes Michael's hand.

"Ain't he sweet?" Jan says in that Southern sing-song voice she's done a [...]