Monty Python Adds Another Five Reunion Shows

Monty Python's reunion next year has already been expanded from one to five shows, and now the group has announced they'll be doing an additional five shows at London's O2 Arena next summer. The five living members of the group –  John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Michael Palin and Terry Jones – will now be performing on July 15, 16, 18, 19, and 20 of next year, as well as July 1-5.

Tickets to the first show reportedly sold out in 43.5 seconds, and the next four shows at the 20,000-seat venue went quickly as well. Ticket prices for ranged from £26.50 ($43) to £95 ($154). The show is entitled "Monty Python Live (mostly): One down, five to go," a reference to the group's deceased member Graham Chapman, who passed away in 1989. Tickets to the shows are on sale here.


Chris Lilley's Character Jonah Takalua Is Getting His Own Show

Summer Heights High creator and star Chris Lilley's spinoff Ja'mie: Private School Girl has only just premiered in the US, but he's already announced that another character from Summer Heights will front a new show. Lilley tweeted a confirmation of a BBC story that Lilley character Jonah Takalua will be getting his own show.

Takalua, a rowdy 14-year-old schoolboy, was expelled from Summer Heights High at the end of that series, and sent to live with his extended family in Tonga. The new series will find "Jonah in the midst of island life and experiencing the familiar frustrations of a bored teenage delinquent." The series is due to air in Australia and the UK in 2014. In the US, HBO has aired Lilley's three most recent series, though they haven't announced if when they'll be airing the Takalua spinoff.


Last Night, Arsenio Hall Met ArScheerio Paul

Arsenio Hall did a little time traveling last night when Paul Scheer's ArScheerio Paul stopped by to sit on the back of chairs, talk to the dog pound, and discuss their respective interviews with Tupac. The entire thing takes place somewhere in the early 90s.


Amazon's 'Betas' Could Be Great, But Isn't Quite There Yet

The pilot of the new Amazon Studios comedy series Betas showed a lot of promise. Though it was only in the middle of our rankings last spring, the first episode had an energy and pace that promised strong things from the show, which follows a young crew attempting to launch a new social media app. But based on the next two episodes currently up on Amazon Prime, it’s unclear yet whether the show can keep up that quality over the long run.

It’s not an uncommon tale in television – a pilot filled with vibrant characters and a cleverly designed plot struggles when the show’s becomes a series. In the first episode of Betas, charming ideas man Trey and high-strung programmer Nash end up wooing a major Silicon Valley investor with a fancy if illegal demo of their clever matchmaking app. In the meantime, Trey hits it off with his new boss’s associate, while fellow team members Hobbes and Mitchell get involved with cute market researcher Mikki and drug dealer/designer Dane. With fast-moving tech talk and a string of clever “aha” moments, it forces the already too-easy comparison to The Social Network. (It is, after all, about two college dropouts trying to launch a social network.) But overall, it works. READ MORE


NBC Adapting British Comedy '30 and Counting'

NBC has bought a pilot for a remake of British single camera sitcom 30 And Counting, Deadline reports. The pilot will be written by Better Off Ted writer Justin Adler and directed by Meet The Parents director John Hamburg. The original show, written by Chris Little and Tom Vinnicombe, was part of a series of romantic comedy specials on Sky Living the UK. 30 and Counting focused on three men seeking partners online who are convinced that "their 30s is the decade that will define them. That leaves them 3,652 days to set the course for the rest of their lives."


Tracy Morgan Has Some Things to Say About Thanksgiving

More specifically, Tracy Morgan has 28 Thanksgiving-y things to say, and he said them all on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon last night while wearing a Cosby sweater. Of course, he mixed in a few colorful stories as well.


Brian Griffin's Probably Not Really Dead

Could Stewie's time machine save Brian?On Sunday night's episode of Family Guy, it appeared that the Griffins' dog Brian had bitten the dust after being hit by a car. But unsurprisingly for a show not bound by any laws of nature, it might not be the end of the beloved pet. An animated clock has appeared online, promising a "special announcement" from Brian on Friday, December 6 at 1 PM ET/10 AM PT. There are no clues about Brian's upcoming message, other than a decree to "spread the word" about the announcement.

Some fans of Family Guy were extremely upset by Brian's death; some even started a petition to bring him back that currently boasts over 35,000 signatures. Some have even argued that the death was just a ploy to sell more Brian merchandise for the holidays and boost the show's flagging ratings, making it the talking cartoon dog version of faking your own death for the insurance money.

Update: A Fox rep insists to TVLine: “The producers have confirmed that the ‘special announcement from Brian’ website is a hoax and was not created by anyone connected to the show, studio or network.” A likely story.


Adam McKay Says 'Anchorman' Is the Type of Thing He Would Have Gotten In Trouble For Writing at 'SNL'

Will Ferrell has certainly been making the rounds as Ron Burgundy to promote the upcoming Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues,  and now director Adam McKay is talking more about the long awaited sequel. In an extended editing room interview on Collider, McKay and his editor Brent White talked about making their longest film ever (the first cut was 4.5 hours), why Seth Rogen is useless in a test audience, and not over-using Steve Carrell's Brick character:

He’s definitely the Harpo Marx of the team in the sense that he has no rules whatsoever to him.  He can step out of scenes.  He can comment on scenes.  He can look at the camera.  SO he’s got this magical power.  And then rhythm-wise, he can just get laughs.  He has one line in the movie that’s not even a joke and it gets a huge laugh.  He just says something and the crowd goes crazy.  We actually did a pass where we would go through and look at Brick and take out anything that’s mediocre [...] sweaty, and we’re like, it should only be high quality when it’s Brick.

McKay also talked about what a surprise hit the original film was back in 2004, and the extra pressure it put on the sequel.

It made it harder to do the second one because a lot of the comedy has been co-opted in commercials and kind of other styles in other comedies.  We really had to write this script over and over again to make sure we had original things.  It made it a little harder, but at the same time without a doubt, it was great to know your 2 AM flights of fancy other people think are funny.  Things I used to get in trouble for writing at SNL, suddenly other people like it.  It was nice.

Check out the rest of the interview on Collider here.


Joe Mande, Noah Garfinkel, and Pete Holmes Talked About Things Not To Do While High

Writers and hosts of the much beloved show Totally J/K Joe Mande and Noah Garfinkel stopped by The Pete Holmes Show last night, and they mostly just talked about things that are unwise to do while under the influence of marijuana. So far, the list includes making popcorn while watching Nickelodeon and going to TV taping at Fox News, but surely it's just the beginning. READ MORE


Cary Elwes Is Writing a Memoir About 'The Princess Bride'

Cary Elwes, who starred as Westley in the classic 1987 comedy The Princess Bride, is writing a memoir about the film. The Associated Press reports that Elwes has signed a deal with Simon & Schuster imprint Touchstone to pen a memoir entitled As You Wish: Tales from 'The Princess Bride'. It's scheduled to be released in the fall of 2014. The film's director, Rob Reiner, will write the book's foreword, and it will contain interviews with Billy Crystal, Robin Wright and other cast members from the movie. For nostalgia's sake, check out the original trailer for The Princess Bride below.  READ MORE


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


'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.



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


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.