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How FX's 'You’re the Worst' Has Quietly Become the Best New Comedy on Television

youretheworstThe summer television season used to be reserved for the ignoble combination of network miscalculations and obligatory burn offs as the Big Four reserved their more acclaimed pilots for the prestigious fall season. Luckily, the television landscape is slowly evolving. While the upcoming spate of new network sitcoms suggest that the low end of the dial may be clinging to the cozy confines of the familiar, FX’s freshman series You’re the Worst has embraced the allure of the unknown and, in the process, has quietly delivered the most entertaining comedy of the year.

Described as a "dark twist on the romantic comedy genre,” You’re the Worst follows the budding relationship between two professionals in the field of self-destruction: Jimmy, a misanthropic novelist, and Gretchen, a recreationally dishonest music publicist — both of whom, as you may have gleaned from the title, are somewhere near the vicinity of the worst.

YTW debuted this summer with a promising pilot, but fearlessly strutted into “double take” territory soon there after as the series began to exude a quality rarely seen in a rookie sitcom: poise. The series radiates confidence with an unflinching comprehension of its own unique point of view while defiantly refusing to pander to anything other than its own ethos. Sitcom chemistry may not be an exact science, but creator Stephen Falk and the casting department went straight up Louis Pasteur mode on You’re the Worst. READ MORE

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Talking to Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter About Their Podcast 'Topics' and Other Stuff

In the increasingly competitive world of comedic podcasting, earning the title of "must-listen" can be quite challenging. With an abundance of engaging options available to occupy your 9-5, a discerning ear is essential to remain up-to-date on the very best in audio entertainment. Earwolf, arguably the industry’s leading tastemaker in comedy podcasts, recently added the sophisticated humor of frequent collaborators Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter to their all-star roster by agreeing to host their previously independent podcast, Topics. A comedy podcast set in the non-traditional world of intellectual debate, Topics eschews a number of traditional podcasting norms to create a droll, uniquely entertaining experience certainly worthy of joining the exclusive ranks of "must-listen" podcasts.

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter about the origins of Topics, upcoming plans for future episodes, and their current projects outside the realm of podcasting. READ MORE

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'The Andy Daly Podcast Pilot Project' Lives Up to Lofty Expectations

In the ever-expanding universe of comedy podcasts, few people are held in higher esteem than Andy Daly. Whenever I’m asked to provide a recommendation for someone looking to become better acquainted with the overwhelming world of improvisational podcasts, I suggest one of Daly's classic appearances on Comedy Bang! Bang! Those episodes deftly showcase the pinnacle of comedy podcasting while, at the same time, serving as a fairly accurate barometer of an individual’s comedic sensibility. It’s possible you may enjoy other comedy podcasts if you don’t find Daly’s frequent appearances on Comedy Bang! Bang! amusing; it’s just not probable. The news that Daly would attempt the intricate transition from guest to host with his new podcast The Andy Daly Podcast Pilot Project came with higher expectations than your typical rookie podcast.

Right out of the gate, The Andy Daly Podcast Pilot Project is an enjoyable combination of wit and absurdity. The intriguing premise, that Daly and Superego’s Matt Gourley are presenting the audience with unsolicited pilot episodes from individuals who have taken advantage of Earwolf’s notoriously lax open door policy, is uniquely tailored to Daly’s specific brand of comedic proficiency. It provides Daly’s stable of wonderfully idiosyncratic characters their own personal showcase to build upon their previously established characterization. Future episodes promise to reunite the listening audience with Comedy Bang! Bang! favorites like television personality and (possible) future Honorary Mayor of Hollywood Chip Gardner and trainer to the stars Bill Carter. READ MORE

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Talking to Hayes Davenport and Sean Clements About Their Podcast 'Hollywood Handbook'

Chances are if you’ve ever admired a television program or were moved to tears by a film, you’ve appreciated the virtuosity of Hollywood A-list it-boys Hayes Davenport and Sean Clements. Last October, the two entertainment prodigies decided to unlock the golden gates of Hollywood to John and Jane Q Public, and reveal their previously confidential industry expertise by launching Hollywood Handbook, a podcast on the Earwolf Network that aims to help listeners achieve their showbiz dreams. In three short months, Hollywood Handbook ascended from the new podcast on the block to weekly must-listen status with its endearing mix of subtle charm and subversive comedy. After exchanging countless emails with a slew of publicists, agents and the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, Hayes and Sean agreed to chat with Splitsider about the possibility of becoming their own podcasting network, outsmarting Justin Bieber, and why Tom Hanks doesn’t have a podcast. READ MORE

TV
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A Master's Degree in Comedy: The Evolution of 'Community'

This Thursday, Jeff Winger’s four-year run as a college student culminates in his (probable) graduation from Greendale Community College. Since its inception, Community has been a polarizing underdog; the internet’s version of a water cooler show. The series possesses an interesting combination of self-assurance and lovable tenacity; kind of like a more articulate Rocky Balboa. Despite numerous timeslots, highly publicized inner turmoil amidst frequent threats of cancellation, Community retained a rabid fan base that identified with its intrepid ambition. We’ve come a long way since Jeff Winger, curiously sporting the unlikely combination of a blazer and track pants, attempted to use his rudimentary foreign language skills to create a fake study group in the hopes of seducing Britta. Let's take a look at several key episodes that helped Community evolve from a conventional ensemble comedy into the perfect blend of meta humor and smart three-dimensional character comedy that it became during the peak of the show's Dan Harmon era. READ MORE