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Talking to Omid Djalili About Returning to America, Taking Standup Seriously, and International Comedy

British comedian Omid Djalili may be a familiar face to many Americans, but his standup hasn't been seen in the US in quite awhile. His last performance here was in 2005, when he taped a half-hour One Night Stand for HBO in 2005. He also appeared on Whoopi Goldberg's 2003-2004 sitcom Whoopi and the short lived 2010 The Paul Reiser Show, and he's equally well-known for his dramatic work, starring 2010's The Infidel and in a production of The Shawshank Redemption at the Edinburgh Fringe this summer.

Now, he's returning to the US, with dates in the New York, Washington DC, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. I got the chance to speak with him over the phone recently about returning to address some unfinished business, why he used to not take comedy seriously, and why it's liberating to perform for people who don't know him.

You haven’t done standup in the US in almost 10 years, is that right?

Yeah, I did it while I was still doing the Whoopi Goldberg show. I did the Aspen Comedy Festival, and then I did a short run in New York in 2004, which HBO came to see, then I got a deal with HBO. I did an HBO special and then – you know, human beings are either conscious or unconscious. I wasn’t really a conscious human being. I just kind of did the HBO special; I never even watched it. I just went back to England. In one of the press releases, we didn’t even write that I did an HBO special, and I’m only the second person ever from Great Britain to star in an HBO special. Eddie Izzard’s the only other one. I completely forgot. And I was doing them with great people, like Louis C.K. was doing his first HBO special. Patrice O’Neal, rest in peace, did his. Jim Norton. There’s a whole bunch of really great people. And I just went back to England. I never really paid much attention to it. It’s very bizarre, and it’s only hit me in the last the year that this is crazy.

So when some people saw me at the Edinburgh Festival and said, “Hey, would you like to do some gigs in New York?” I thought, 'Yeah, I have some unfinished business.' It’s nuts. Who does an HBO special and then leaves the country and doesn’t even refer to it? I didn’t even talk about it. It just seems so dumb that I never even bought it up in conversation. I just did it and left. I split. On the English Comedy Central, they played it, and I caught the last two minutes, and I was like, “Oh my God, did I do that?” And I think one of the reasons why was because HBO sent me some photographs of the night, and I just looked really overweight. I thought, “No, no, I’m not having this.” And I put it out of my mind. I know I’m overweight, but I’m not that fat. And that was it. In my mind, I was just cut off and I’ve never mentioned it until now. And that was 2005, so that was the last gig. READ MORE

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'Family Guy' Killed Off Brian Last Night

On last night's episode of Family Guy, the Griffin's dog and smartest member of the family Brian was struck by a car and killed off. Brian, who was voiced by Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, died after baby Stewie's time machine had broken, meaning he was unable to go back and save him. But since the world of Family Guy has a very casual relationship with continuity and logic, it's more than possible that his death need not be the end of Brian.

Update: Family Guy's writers made reference to the death at Comic-Con a few months ago, saying that one family member would be killed and replaced by another one. Below, check out Fox's tribute to Brian.

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South African Comedian Trevor Noah Sells Sitcom Pilot to Fox

South African comedian Trevor Noah has sold a sitcom pilot to Fox based on his life growing up in South Africa with a white Swiss father and black South African mother. Deadline reports that the show will be written by Modern Family and Goodwin Games writer Sameer Gardezi and be produced by Will and Jada Pinkett Smith production company Overbrook Entertainment.

Noah is a massively popular standup in Africa, selling more DVDs than any other standup. He's been presented by Eddie Izzard around the world, and he's appeared in the US on both The Tonight Show and The Late Show. Here's what Noah has to say about his career plans in the US when Splitsider talked to him over the summer:

I have no time for goals. I don't know where the idea of goals came from. I don't believe in goals. I'd rather believe in enjoying micro-successes in things that I do. I don't plan something like that. I don't go, “Oh in America, I hope this will happen.” No, I just hope people will come to my shows. [...]  I don't stress about those things. I find it ridiculous. “Oh, and then in three years, I want to have a TV show.” No, I have no time for that. Because everything I've done up until this point, I haven't planned.

Below, check out Noah's appearance on Letterman this past May.  READ MORE

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The Monty Python Guys Are Now Doing Five Shows in London

Last week, the five living members of Monty Python announced a reunion show at the O2 Arena in London  for July 1. Tickets went on sale this morning, and sold so fast that the troupe has added four more shows. Tickets then went on sale for July 2-5, and those seem to be almost sold out as well. Organizers said the first show sold out in 43.5 seconds when they went on sale at 10 am GMT. The O2 Arena seats 20,000 people, and ticket prices ranged from £26.50 ($43) to £95 ($154).

One presumed reason for the reunion is due to a recent court loss by John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Michael Palin and Terry Jones. Mark Forstater, who produced their classic 1975 film Monty Python and The Holy Grail, claimed he was owed more than £200,000 in underpaid royalties from the stage show Spamalot, which has become an international hit.

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Diablo Cody Is Making an HBO Comedy with Oprah Winfrey

HBO is developing a comedy with Diablo Cody and Oprah Winfrey, says The Hollywood Reporter. Still untitled, the show will based on the upcoming book Moody Bitches: The Truth About the Drugs You're Taking, the Sex You're Not Having, The Sleep You're Missing and What's Really Making You Crazy by Dr. Julie Holland, which is said to be about "the pros and cons of the drugs people are being offered as well as some surprising and highly effective natural therapies."

Cody will create and write the show, and executive produce alongside Winfrey and Holland. She's also working on her own TBS pop culture talk show, Me Time with Diablo Cody. 

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Check Out a Trailer for Dan Harmon's Adult Swim Show 'Rick and Morty'


The first trailer is up for Dan Harmon's new Adult Swim show Rick and Morty, about a crazy scientist who drags his grandson on "insanely dangerous adventures across the universe." As we already knew, the show's animation looks amazingly beautiful. The show premieres on December 2 at 10:30 PM.

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Rodney Dangerfield's Wife Launches Site Dedicated to the Late Comic

Rodney Dangerfield's wife Joan today launched Rodney.com, a site dedicated the career and legacy of the late comedian. The site includes hand-written jokes and set lists, clips from television appearances dating back to a spot on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1970, and a competition to win one of Dangerfield's old cars. Dangerfield passed away in 2004 at the age of 82.

Meanwhile, The Hollywood Reporter has an interesting look at the Dangerfield marriage, including the fact that Joan keeps a bottle of Rodney's sweat in a "crystal decanter for special occasions." It also reveals that Rodney was a math genius and a pothead who considered cloning himself.

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Watch a New Trailer for the Third Season of 'Girls'


Here's the first full length trailer for the upcoming season of Girls, which premieres with two back-to-back episodes on January 12th. And if you can't be bothered to watch the whole thing, Lena Dunham posted a 15-second Instagram version as well.

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Jessica Williams Had Some Advice on Shopping While Black on Black Friday

After some recent allegations of racism at Barney's in New York, The Daily Show's Jessica Williams wanted to share some advice for black shoppers as the year's biggest shopping day approaches, so she developed a few clever plans to get around the problem.

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Comedy Central Buys Pilot from Nick Turner and Lee Rubenstein

Comedy Central has bought a pilot from Nick Turner and Lee Rubenstein. The single camera show, Crazy House, follows "two friends who, after accidentally sending their boss into a coma via an office prank, successfully plead insanity and are sentenced to an asylum."

Turner, who was featured on our list of up-and-coming comics, has been seen on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and John Oliver's New York Stand-Up Show, and is cast member on Best Week Ever. Rubenstein is a contributor to "Weekend Update" and is a performer at UCB in Los Angeles.

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Key and Peele's Valets Went Crazy for Arsenio Halls


Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key were on The Arsenio Hall Show last night, and when Arsenio mentioned that he was a big fan of their valet characters, they jumped into character and took over his studio to show their enthusiasm for Harlem Nights and Coming to America. Below, they give a brief history of their relationship, tried another version of their "Soul Food" sketch, and plot to get their hands on Arsenio's show. READ MORE

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Highlights from Monty Python's Reddit AMA

Following the news that the five living members of Monty Python are reuniting for a show in London next summer, all five participated in a Reddit Ask Me Anything this morning, answering questions about their new show, their old material, and each other. Here are a few of the best quotes from Eric Idle, Michael Palin, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, and Terry Jones.  READ MORE

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MTV Didn't Pick Up 'Nikki & Sara Live' for a Third Season

On the latest episode of their podcast You Had To Be There, Nikki Glaser and Sara Schaefer announced that their MTV show Nikki & Sara Live has been not been picked up for a third season. The pair recorded the episode in Schaefer's apartment with the crew of the show, discussing their favorite moments about the series.

Nikki & Sara Live, which began in January, aired for 24 episodes over two seasons. According to the duo, the announcement came down a few weeks ago. While the show's ratings had improved in its second season, it was never a breakaway hit with the network's largely teenage audience. It's been a big year for late night shows, but a bad month for them. Both Comedy Central's The Jeselnik Offensive and FXX's Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell have been cancelled in the past few weeks.

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Doug Benson and Pete Holmes Discussed Their Hugging History


On last night's Pete Holmes Show, Doug Benson dropped by and told Pete the story about the first hug they ever shared because Pete doesn't remember it. They also discussed Pete's personality on Doug's podcast, Pete revealed his unawareness of Gullver's Travels, and then there was some dancing. READ MORE