Summer Daily Show fill-in host John Oliver proposed a new method of dealing with Sarah Palin on the show last night: ignoring her. Of course, in order to get the entire country to ignore somebody, you have to talk about that person – the opposite of ignoring them – but it's a nice thought nonetheless.
"I subscribe to the 'anyone but Jay' philosophy. No offense to you. You know I love you, but if they had replaced Jay with Ahmadinejad over in Iran, I am telling you I wouldn't have cared. Charlie Manson could have taken over The Tonight Show as long as it's not Jay Leno."
Alison Brie and Colin Hanks are set to star in a new indie romantic comedy that, unlike most indie romantic comedies, involves some sort of inter-dimensional portal. Variety reports that production is underway on the film, entitled No Stranger than Love. Nick Wernham is making his directorial debut on the project, which was written by Steve Adams (Envy). In the movie, Brie plays a small town high school teacher who starts having an affair with the school's married football coach (Hanks) until he vanishes down an inter-dimensional hole that opens in her living room. Small towns are so weird.
Here's Russell Brand on MSNBC's Morning Joe yesterday, dealing with a trio of news anchors who spend the bulk of the interview talking about him as if he's not there despite his repeated pleas for them to stop doing that because it's weird and rude.
Comedy pioneer Bernie Sahlins passed away Sunday in his Chicago home at the age of 90. Sahlins, who co-founded Chicago's Second City theater in 1959, had a vast influence on the careers of the dozens and dozens of brilliant comedic minds that passed through the theater's doors during his tenure there and upon the American comedy landscape as a whole. Sahlins spent three decades at Second City before selling the theater to Andrew Alexander in 1984 and stepping down as artistic director in 1988. During his time at Second City, Sahlins hired a long list of iconic performers that includes Alan Arkin, Joan Rivers, Fred Willard, John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, Shelley Long, Harold Ramis, and Martin Short, among countless others.
Sahlins's influence in the comedy world is so large that it's difficult to comprehend. He served as a developer and producer on SCTV, one of the most influential TV sketch shows of all time, and his work with Second City led to Chicago becoming one of the country's preeminent comedy cities, now boasting a thriving stand-up scene and other influential theaters like iO and Annoyance — all of which came about in the decades that followed the founding of Second City. The theater also had an indelible impact upon Saturday Night Live, with producers from the show making it a habit of scouting for cast members there. SNL poached from the theater so much that Second City producer Joyce Sloane tells the Chicago Sun-Times that Sahlins once half-jokingly instructed her to lock Lorne Michaels out of the building.
Bernie Sahlins clashed with improv guru Del Close over whether improvisation could be viewed as an art form in and of itself. Sahlins felt improv should serve as a method of developing scripted ideas, whereas Close felt it could stand on its own, which led him to co-found his own Chicago theater, the ImprovOlympic. Sahlins famously told Close on his deathbed, "Del, for tonight it is an art form." Despite Sahlins's opinions on the form, improv hubs like iO and UCB owe a lot to his work at Second City — as does the rest of the comedy world.
After going off on a rant about the latest season of Community on his podcast Harmontown, Community creator Dan Harmon took to Twitter and Tumblr yesterday and this morning to apologize for his words. Harmon tweeted, "I feel bad if I made anyone feel bad with my comments in harmontown. It's a dirty, personal comedy podcast, not charismatic for quoting," and "I like making stuff that pleases people, I like being honest about my feelings but I hate hurting other people, especially community fans."
He then wrote a lengthy Tumblr post, entitled "It Won't Happen Again Again," in the wee hours of the morning to further apologize to fans, the writers of Community season four, and for making a joke that compared binge-watching the season to "being held down and watching your family get raped on a beach." In his Tumblr apology, Harmon complimented the writers on certain parts of season four and wrote, "Don’t tell anyone I said this but all writers are better people than all non-writers. Nobody read that unless you’re a writer. I broke a code when I judged the work of writers with whom I wasn’t in the same trenches." Harmon also addressed Community fans, saying, "To keep from hurting you, I’m going to try thinking about you before saying things into microphones … Obviously the solution is to stop talking about my job in my podcast until production is safely complete." Time will tell if Harmon is able to stick to that promise.
Here's "Failure," a new short film Michael Cera made for the YouTube channel JASH. Cera directed and stars in the short alongside his Scott Pilgrim vs. the World costar Aubrey Plaza, who plays a bigger weirdo than normal in this.
"One of the things I learned in debate that helped me not just with comedy but with everything is, learning how to make analogies. One of the most common ways of making a point is also a really common device for making a joke. If you’re doing observational stuff, you’re kind of making a point. And the harder you can make that point hit, the funnier it can be–and I learned that from debate for sure. Making analogies to make something sound ridiculous works for both winning a debate round and making people laugh."
-Standup Emily Heller talking to Fast Company about the many ways her high school debate team prepared her for a career in comedy.
Here's the trailer for a new comedy called Computer Chess about a computer chess tournament in the 1980s. It's directed by Andrew Bujalski (Funny Ha Ha, Mutual Appreciation) and is poised to be the black-and-white '80s computer chess comedy of the year.
"Steve Martin was the No. 1 comic I tried to emulate. To this day, I wear three-piece suits all the time because of him. I got the Let’s Get Small album right when it first came out and did the routines for my classmates, but not telling them that it was Steve Martin. They thought I was the funniest man in the world. And then Steve Martin broke big, and everybody knew that I had stolen all the material."
-Bridesmaids director Paul Feig talking about his influences to Vulture. It's a list that, in addition to Steve Martin, includes Groucho Marx, David Letterman, and his parents.
We reported last month that beloved UK sitcom The IT Crowd is returning for a special 40-minute finale episode that's currently filming, and now, there's a chance for you to end up in the episode. Creator Graham Linehan announced on his blog that production is looking for shots of people all over the world to reacting to a shocking video on their laptops with a famous landmark in the background. The deadline is June 25th, so if you happen to live next to a famous world landmark, go ahead and get yourself on TV.
Reggie Watts is playing a supporting role in a new pilot for Comedy Central. THR reports that the potential series is called Bad Advice from My Brother, and it's based on the blog of the same name by Jordan Pope Roush. The show follows a guy (played by newcomer Mike Castle) who moves in with his older brother (played by Miles Fisher, Final Destination 5), a womanizing Wall Street guy who often gives him bad advice. Watts, the bandleader on IFC's Comedy Bang Bang and a wildly talented musical comedian, is playing their neighbor, aptly named Reggie. Hopefully, this will continue a streak of him only playing characters with his own name.
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