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Bob Balaban Stars in Above Average's New Series, 'Approach the Bench'


Above Average, the YouTube channel of Lorne Michaels's production company Broadway Video, just debuted another new web series. Called Approach the Bench, it's a courtroom comedy starring character actor Bob Balaban, a regular in Wes Anderson and Christopher Guest's movies, as a judge. Approach the Bench was created and written by Daily Show writer Zhubin Parang, and this is the first of three episodes, which will hopefully all be about legal professionals obsessed with Danny Aiello.

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"When we were writing Portlandia, I once had this idea of doing something with a whole bunch of bass players together, but it was like, 'Oh, well, I guess Spinal Tap already did that with their all-bass band.' And I was like, 'I can’t believe that in 2012 we still have to measure ourselves against Spinal Tap.' But we still do. There are still things that you can’t do because they did it."

- Fred Armisen in an interview he and Portlandia cohort Carrie Brownstein did for The Dissolve, entirely focused on their love of This Is Spinal Tap.

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Watch an Hour-Long Chat with Comedy Central President Kent Alterman


Grantland conducted this hour-plus conversation with Kent Alterman, head of original programming at Comedy Central. Alterman's been at the network for nearly two decades and has plenty of stuff to talk about, from giving a show to the Upright Citizens Brigade in the mid-'90s to working to develop Broad City.

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'Community' Uses Donald Glover in a Movie Poster Parody to Help the Show Get Renewed

Community's fate is up in the air, with NBC's decision whether to renew the sitcom for a sixth season or not coming soon. Sony Pictures Television, the studio behind the show, has made a series of faux-movie posters featuring Community stars to get buzz about the series going on social media, and they even got former Community actor Donald Glover, who left the show early this past season, to do one.

Check out the Glover poster, a parody of the movie Cast Away featuring his character Troy Barnes, below (via TV Guide): READ MORE

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Paul Schneider Explains Why He Left 'Parks and Rec' and Won't Ever Go Back

Former Parks and Recreation star Paul Schneider, who played Pawnee city planner Mark Brendanawicz in the show's first two seasons, did an interview with Screencrush shedding some light on his exit from the show and whether he'll ever come back as a guest star as co-creator Mike Schur has suggested.

"That experience was very strange for me," said Schneider reflecting on Parks and Rec. "I signed up for a specific character that was changed in mid-season. And it became a character with a lot less to do. And, all of a sudden, I was kind of confused and kind of having a lot less to do." When asked about Mike Schur suggesting he may return, Schneider replied, "No, I’m not interested in going back. And that’s very generous of him. But I’ve never been contacted about that nor have I any interest in going back."

The entire interview is pretty candid and worth reading, going into both Schneider's desire to leave the entertainment industry for something more fulfilling and his sincere love for America's Funniest Home Videos. (via AV Club)

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VH1 Cancels 'Best Week Ever' Again

VH1 announced today that they've canceled long-running series Best Week Ever for a second time. Best Week Ever originally ran from 2004 to 2009, when it was initially canceled. VH1 rebooted the show in January of 2013, with a new cast and format, featuring comedians Michael Che, Nick Turner, Ali Wong, and more.

"Best Week Ever was a pioneer in pop culture commentary on television when it launched in 2004, delivering its signature blend of comedy and tongue-in-cheek opinions on the most entertaining news and pop culture stories of the previous seven days,” said VH1 in a statement. “The series also served as a national launching pad for many talented creatives and comedians. We thank them, and the viewers who tuned in each week."

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Andy Samberg, Charlize Theron, and Andrew Garfield Are Hosting the Last Three 'SNL's of the Season

NBC just announced the hosts and musical guests for the final three Saturday Night Live episodes of the season:

May 3rd: Andrew Garfield/Coldplay

May 10th: Charlize Theron/The Black Keys

May 17th: Andy Samberg/St. Vincent

This is the first time hosting for both Garfield and Samberg and the second for Theron, who last hosted in 2000. Samberg left SNL in 2012 after seven years and is currently starring in the critically-acclaimed Fox sitcom Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which won him a Golden Globe earlier this year. SNL is a rerun this week but will return new with the May 3rd episode.

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Talking to Brett Gelman About His New Adult Swim Special

Tomorrow night, Adult Swim is airing Dinner with Friends with Brett Gelman and Friends, a new half-hour special starring comedian Brett Gelman and directed by Jason Woliner, who co-wrote the script with Gelman. Beginning as a talk show Gelman hosts over a meal with six Hollywood actors a la Jon Favreau's Dinner for Five, Dinner with Friends with Brett Gelman and Friends quickly takes a turn and descends into an evening of psychological torture. Like Eagleheart, the Adult Swim show Gelman acts on and Woliner is a writer, director, and producer on, Dinner with Friends is fast-paced, funny, and unlike anything else on TV.

I recently talked with Brett Gelman about the special, his past projects with Jason Woliner, and making more stuff with Adult Swim. READ MORE

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Here's a Short Clip of Colbert on 'Letterman' Tonight


Stephen Colbert is making an appearance on Late Show with David Letterman tonight to sit down with the man whose job he's taking next year, and CBS just released this short snippet from the interview. In it, Stephen Colbert wears a new thick pair of glasses that may just end up being his network TV host glasses.

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HBO has launched PiedPiper.com, a website for the app from the show Silicon Valley, featuring a super wordy explanation of the technology ("we hope will make the world a better place through compression services across diversified market segments") and bios for the show's main characters ("In 2011 he replaced the homepage of the Federal Reserve with the cover of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere. [paperback edition] It took them a week to get it down. You’re welcome").

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Ed Begley Jr. Is a Cool Priest on 'Portlandia'


Here's a sketch from tomorrow's episode of Portlandia, in which Ed Begley Jr. plays a priest rebranding his church for a new audience and also trying acupuncture for the first time.

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D.C.-based lifestyle blog Brightest Young Things has a new piece out called "How to Get Into a Comedy Festival," in which they interviewed people who run several major festivals (Bridgetown, Riot LA, Bentzen Ball) for submission tips and tips on ways to not irritate the people who organize comedy festivals.

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Talking to Chris Gethard About His New Album, His Comedy Central Pilot, and More

Chris Gethard has an exciting few months coming up. His debut standup album, entitled My Comedy Album, comes out today, his Comedy Central half-hour special is airing this summer, and he'll soon hear back on whether Comedy Central will be ordering his pilot of The Chris Gethard Show to series or not. He also recently returned to doing weekly episodes of the public access version of The Chris Gethard Show, which will soon be ending whether the Comedy Central version gets picked up or not.

I had the chance to talk with Gethard a few weeks ago about how focus groups reacted to The Chris Gethard Show's Comedy Central pilot, season two of Broad City, and leaving improv behind to focus on standup. READ MORE

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Watch the NBC-Mocking End to 'Community's Fifth Season


Community ended its fifth season Thursday, and the very end of the episode was this series of fake NBC promos making fun of the show's home network's programming and scheduling decisions with a promo for a slate of new fake shows starring B.J. Novak, Amber Tamblyn, Questlove, and more. If Community doesn't get renewed for a sixth season (which is still up in the air), this is one cool way to go out. (via Pop Culture Brain)