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Posts tagged as the state

Revisiting the Surreal World of 'Viva Variety'

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.)

The members of the popular MTV sketch group The State have successfully infiltrated all of popular culture at this point. They’re in TV shows [...]

'The State' Is Releasing a New E-Book Version of Their Out of Print '90s Travel Book

Comedy group The State announced today that they're releasing their comedic USA travel book, State by State with The State: An Uninformed, Poorly Researched Guide to Traveling the United States in e-book form for the first time ever on Tuesday, November 5th. The book, available for pre-order now, was written by the 11 members of The State (Kevin Allison, Michael Ian Black, Ben Garant, Todd Holoubek, Michael Patrick Jann, Kerri Kenney, Tom Lennon, Joe Lo Truglio, Ken Marino, Michael Showalter, David Wain) after the demise of their sketch show in 1997, but it's been out of print for the last several years.

Check out a trailer for the [...]

Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter Have a Podcast Together Now

Comedy duo Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter have teamed up for another project. The pair, who worked together previously on TV shows like The State, Stella, and Michael & Michael Have Issues, just debuted a new podcast this week called Topics in which they "have serious discussions about big topics of conversation that we all think about." The first two episodes — an short introductory podcast and one that sees the pair debating the existence of God — are now available, and, of course, getting serious is just another excuse for Michael and Michael to goof off and dryly joke about being serious week to week.

Talking to Mather Zickel About 'Newsreaders,' Playing Bill Murray, and Going to College with The State

Having gone to college with the members of the comedy group The State in the late '80s, actor Mather Zickel began working with The State alumni like Reno 911!, The Ten, and Stella in the early 2000s. Now, he's front and center in Adult Swim's newest 11-minute comedy Newsreaders, a spin-off of Childrens Hospital produced and created by Rob Corddry, Jonathan Stern, and The State's David Wain. As Louis La Fonda, the host of Newsreaders, a fake newsmagazine show, Zickel nails the cadence and feel of tabloidy reporters, helping the show to take on 60 Minutes in the same way that Childrens Hospital skewers Grey's Anatomy. I recently had the chance to talk [...]

Talking to David Wain & Joe Lo Truglio About Theater, Constructing A Well-Made Play, and Achieving Cult Comedy Status

Since their time with the sprawling 90’s MTV sketch group The State, David Wain and Joe Lo Truglio have gone on to, respectively, direct and act in several successful films including Wanderlust, Role Models, and the cult classic Wet Hot American Summer. Yet, prior to gaining recognition on the big screen, the duo made a brief foray into the theater with their 1998 play, SEX (a.k.a Weiners and Boobs). Written along with fellow State member and Wain’s oft co-writer Michael Showalter, the play is an irreverent comedic romp, which in its original production starred the writers, and most notably, featured a scene from David Mamet’s GlenGarry Glen Ross that [...]

David Wain Talks 'They Came Together,' 'Superjail,' and The State Reuniting

Voicing the lead character on a returning animated series, preparing for the theatrical release of a new romantic comedy spoof, announcing the reunion of a groundbreaking comedy group, and keeping very hush-hush about a long-awaited project. These are just a few of the things that writer, director, actor, and comedian David Wain has been up to. I chatted with Wain about Superjail! (Season 4 premieres June 15th at 11:45 p.m.), his next movie They Came Together, The State reuniting for Tenacious D's comedy festival, and how to talk to your children about your dirty sense of humor.

Talking to Tom Lennon About Playing the Villain on NBC's 'Sean Saves the World'

Best known for starring in and co-creating comedy nerd favorites like The State and Reno 911!, Tom Lennon is acting on a different kind of show this season: a multi-cam network sitcom on primetime TV. He's playing the villain on Sean Saves the World, NBC's new Sean Hayes comedy, which just premiered last week. As Hayes's dastardly mustachioed boss Hunter, he's one of the most deliberately unlikable and evil characters on primetime TV.

I recently had the chance to talk to Tom Lennon about Sean Saves the World, playing an bad guy, and the Baywatch movie he's writing with Ben Garant.

How Stella Kicked Off the Internet Comedy Boom

Because we live in a time of comedic plenty, it’s hard to remember what life was like before the comedy boom. YouTube was only invented in 2005 and, as recently as ten years ago, a person had to do some serious digging to find something funny on the Internet — outside of some lame joke that a friend or family member forced down your throat on a chain e-mail that was most likely sent from an AOL or Hotmail account.

Some would argue that current age of online comedy began with the advent of YouTube; while others would state that Funny or Die started the trend in 2007; still [...]

It's That Episode 50: Kevin Allison, Ilana Glazer and Anthony Atamanuik LIVE!

On "It's That Episode" Craig Rowin (UCB Theatre) invites guests over to watch any episode of any TV show they want. They discuss the episode and other crap.

A live recording from the NYC Podfest with Kevin Allison (The State, RISK!), Ilana Glazer (Broad City) and Anthony Atamanuik (30 Rock, Death By Roo Roo). Kevin Allison discusses the origin of The State's "Taco Mailman" sketch and explains why The State didn't do more episodes at MTV. Ilana Glazer talks about Oprah hosting SNL in 1986 and how Oprah beat out "Hugh Humphrey" in the ratings. Anthony Atamnuik introduces the world to virtual reality "Murder She Wrote." And [...]

Thomas Lennon is Co-Directing Robert Ben Garant's 'Baywatch' Movie

Robert Ben Garant will be joined by his partner in crime, fellow The State/Reno 911! alum Thomas Lennon, as his co-director for a comedy remake of the cheesy 90s lifeguard soap Baywatch.  This is the silliest project Lennon and Garant have ever worked on, and keep in mind that Lennon wrote “Porcupine Racetrack” and the duo was previously developing a “leprechaun action comedy.”

'The State' Reunited on '@midnight' Yesterday

The State alums Michael Showalter, Kerri Kenny-Silver, and Michael Ian Black were last night's @midnight celebrity contestants, which quickly evolved into a nearly complete The State reunion (sans Todd Holoubek and Kevin Allison) full of sarcastic bitterness and contempt. Tom Lennon — who, along with Ben Garant, is an executive producer on @midnight — even came back from the dead for it, and that fancy director guy David Wain took time out of his busy life to not only show up for the episode but direct it.

The 20 Best Forgotten Sketches from 'The State'

Anyone who grew up on MTV in the 90s can quote lines from the short-lived cult sketch comedy show, The State. Even casual fans are familiar with the classics like Michael Showalter’s rebel-without-a-cause character, Doug, and his famous line, “I’m outta heeeere.” Or Barry and Levon and their $240 worth of puddin’. And of course, Louie, the guy who comes in and says his catchphrase over and over again: “I wanna dip my balls in it!” But most of these popular recurring characters were actually written in at the suggestion of MTV. In fact, when the cast was pressured by the network to incorporate more catchphrases into the show, [...]

Watching The State's Revival of 'Sex a.k.a. Weiners and Boobs' at San Francisco Sketchfest

As as an uber-fan of the famed nineties sketch group The State, it delights me that several of the members have continued to collaborate over the last twenty years. In 1998, a few short years prior to the production of the comedic masterpiece Wet Hot American Summer, State members Michael Showalter, David Wain, and Joe Lo Truglio wrote and produced the play Sex a.k.a. Weiners and Boobs over the course of four days. Showalter, Wain, and Lo Truglio and a majority of the original cast reunited this past weekend during the San Francisco Sketchfest to perform the play for only the second (and perhaps the last) time.

As David [...]

The Lost Roles Interview with Tom Lennon

Lost Roles is a weekly column exploring "what might have been" in movie and TV comedy as we take a different actor, writer, or comedian each week and examine the parts they turned down, wanted but didn’t get, and the projects that fell apart altogether. This week, I interviewed Tom Lennon, star and writer of beloved comedy shows like Reno 911! and The State and an accomplished screenwriter and author (with Ben Garant) of the hilarious, no-bullshit screenwriting how-to book Writing Movies for Fun and Profit. Every actor has their fair share of close casting calls, and Tom Lennon is no exception. He was nice enough to chat [...]