Splitsider

 
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Hollywood's 10 Most Ridiculously Unrealistic Weed Scenes

Hollywood has had a rocky relationship with marijuana. As a plot device, weed has been depicted as both a wondrous, life-giving MacGuffin and a poisonous, mind-shattering tool of the Devil. Because of marijuana's tricky connotation with an audience, screenwriters can adjust the drug to fit a wide variety of scenes to evoke a particular reaction. And often that means bending the reality of the situation.

Only in recent years has marijuana been consistently portrayed as the innocuous social drug it truly is. Before then, we had glimmers of accuracy in a sea of fictional dropouts, biker gangs, and "Just Say No!" ads. There was Dazed and Confused — so authentic and believable, it may as well be classified as a documentary alongside Doug Benson's Super-High Me. There's also Lindsay Weir's panic attack on Freaks and Geeks — a scene which could easily be a re-enactment from creator Paul Feig's life.

But by and large, screenwriters have taken great liberty with the realities of marijuana — despite their presumable use of the drug throughout the writing process. Sometimes shocking, other times hackneyed, but almost always hilarious, here are the most unrealistic weed scenes from TV and film. READ MORE

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Jason Sklar on Cheap Seats' Legacy

Supercult profiles the obscure, the offbeat, and the feverishly celebrated pieces of comedy which deserve more recognition.

From 2004 to 2006, the Sklar Brothers skewered the socially awkward and the feverishly pompous of the sports world from the sidelines with their ESPN Classic series Cheap Seats. Culling from the network's massive library of Rose Bowls and Dog Shows alike, ESPN's own Statler and Waldorf provided running commentary as they watched, along with us, some of history's greatest sports embarrassments. There was Steve Garvey on skis, Deacon Jones on a rope, and a shirtless Reggie Jackson. And, of course, Rebecca Sealfon.

Waiting in the wings as featured guests was a murderer's row of comedians. Jon Glaser, Jon Benjamin, David Cross, Patton Oswalt, Brian Posehn, Kristen Schaal, Doug Benson, Michael Ian Black, Zach Galifianakis, Jerry Minor, Kerri Kenney, Eddie Pepitone, Andy Blitz, Jim Gaffigan, and Eugene Mirman all made appearances during the course of the series. For a modest production nestled deep in the 400s of a deluxe cable package, Cheap Seats boasted some of the best comedic talents of the last three decades.

But it was to the Sklars' advantage that the show was relegated to ESPN Classic. Flying under the radar, the team was able to subvert sports legends and cultural icons without fear of reprisal. The show's offbeat format and cult fanbase complemented the esoterica of an obscure channel. However, as the twins attest, a stronger and more visible advertising effort that comes standard with a major network would've been nice.

Although bearing a format comparable to Mystery Science Theater 3000, stylistically, Cheap Seats transcended a mere rehash of the Comedy Central classic. Whereas Joel, Mike, and the Bots adopted an "in-theater" aesthetic of sitting behind sarcastic moviegoers, Jason and Randy were those same moviegoers had they been hired to do play-by-play and color commentary — essentially adapting their off-camera personas. Tonally, the jokes and performers were much different, but Cheap Seats generated that same rolling laughter — where laughs quickly snowball without giving the viewer a chance to rest — that MST3K famously evoked. No wonder the MST3K team did a guest spot. READ MORE

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The Comedy Trends of 2010

Everything old is new again, they say. You see it each year as film, slang, fashion, and politics — especially politics — recycle themselves from previous incarnations. If ancient Greek poets commented about pleasing the audience with the same old routine, you have to assume that shit was stale by the second day man learned to communicate.

And recycled or not, the art of comedy constantly moves through phases. For one year, gross-out comedies are king. A few months later, it'll be talking heads on VH1. After that, it's Borat-style "Gotcha Comedy." And twenty years down the line, we'll start all over again.

But to its credit, 2010 had much to celebrate in the way of new comedy styles. Movies, not so much, as Splitsider's Joe Berkowitz pointed out. But there were more than a few people picking up cinema's slack and revolutionizing the genre from a different medium. And with revolutions come trends. With trends come power. With power comes responsibility.

And with that, I give you the Comedy Trends of 2010. READ MORE

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Chris Elliott's Lost Gems: Action Family & FDR: A One Man Show

Supercult profiles the obscure, the offbeat, and the feverishly celebrated pieces of comedy which deserve more recognition.

It's 1987 and Chris Elliott is desecrating the memory of a beloved national treasure.

Performing in Irvington, New York's Town Hall in front of a packed house — if you count the numerous cardboard stand-ins — Elliott blithely stumbles through the life of Franklin Delano Roosevelt while paying no credence to facts, character, or taste. In the midst of a grossly inaccurate tale, a stagehand slinks up to the performer and whispers in his ear.

"The audience hates you."

"Aw, shut up," Elliott replies.

And it's with that two-sentence exchange that we have a perfect summation of Chris Elliott's on-screen persona: a smarmy, egotistical jerk who couldn't care less about entertaining his audience or pleasing his peers. From his appearances on Late Night with David Letterman to his cult hit Get a Life to these two incredible and criminally obscure Cinemax specials, Chris Elliott is an unlikeable cad.

It's just a matter of whether or not you're in on the joke to actually believe it. READ MORE

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Supercult: Looking Back at What Lookwell Might Have Been

Supercult profiles the obscure, the offbeat, and the feverishly celebrated pieces of comedy which deserve more recognition.

Through sheer determination, unflappable intuition, and testicular fortitude, our hero finally gets his man. Another case closes as the tough-as-nails detective tosses the petty street thug over to awaiting officers and a pair of steel bracelets. The perp struggles against his restraints and demands a lawyer. With a steely glare, our hero sneers, "You can call the Supreme Court for all I care." His face hardens. "You're gonna do time, Leron. Hard time."

The show: Bannigan. The star: Ty Lookwell. His job: Keeping the streets clean while maintaining a good sense of his "who."

In 1991, actor Adam West breathed life into the role of former TV star Ty Lookwell as well as the pitch-perfect script from youthful scribes Robert Smigel and Conan O'Brien. But the pilot aired on NBC in July, opposite 60 Minutes, and was given zero marketing. Without a sizable audience — or even a minuscule one — the amateur gumshoe and his unique brand of protocol died a quick and unjust death after only one episode.

But if there were any real justice in this world, we would've seen at least eight seasons of Lookwell. READ MORE

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Is Overenthusiasm Worse Than Heckling?

It's going on five years since I've regularly watched late night comedy. In my living room, the Conans, the Colberts, and the Lettermen have long been relegated to the occasional Hulu clip or momentary lapse in channel flipping. It's not that I've grown weary of the predictable jokes or well-tread formats, nor have I tired of the stilted banter between host and project-shilling celebrity.

It's the audience. The wooing, shrieking, deafening audience.

Over the last two decades, live comedy crowds have devolved into a wailing, boorish lot — reacting to every one-liner as if Morton Downey, Jr. just choke-slammed a Greenpeace activist. For the performers, that could either mean a constant struggle to get a word in edgewise or, in many cases, a toxic complacency toward effortless approval. Between the disruptive hooting and the countless laurel-resting careers, why isn't overenthusiasm placed in the same league as heckling? READ MORE

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Partners in Love and Comedy Writing

For nearly five years, despite the pleas of common sense, I've engaged in a steamy office romance. But it's not what you think. There aren't any break room rendezvous or synchronized trips to the water cooler. No, our workplace is our Jersey City apartment.

You see, my girlfriend and I aren't cubicle mates. We're writing partners. And although it defies logic and peace of mind, we actively choose to work together. READ MORE

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Why We Relate to Louis CK

Louis CK is having a great year. A tremendous year, arguably his best. Between the theatrical release of his new stand-up special Hilarious and the critically-acclaimed, fan-adored FX series Louie, the comedian is at the top of his game. He's selling out venues nationwide, delivering phenomenal performances that pushes envelopes but stays grounded in brutal, highly literate honesty. He's breaking down walls, cutting through stale, watered-down programming, and redefining what's possible on network television.

We're witnessing a comedy revolution, and a 42-year-old divorced father of two is at the helm. READ MORE