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The Duplass Brothers Sign a Four-Movie Deal with Netflix

duplass brothersNetflix has given the Duplass brothers a home for their next four films. Not long after reaching a similar deal with Adam Sandler, the streaming network signed a deal today with Mark and Jay Duplass to finance and release their next four movies. "This is just the latest step in our very long relationship with the Duplass Brothers," Netflix exec Ted Sarandos told Deadline. "We've been working with them almost since the very beginning, when we were red envelope delivery. Independent film has always been a big part of Netflix, and the reason we do things like the Adam Sandler deal is so we can do things like this as well.” The Duplass brothers are behind three projects at Sundance this year including dramatic film The Bronze, comedy The Overnight, and animated series Animals.

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Chris Rock Guest Stars on Tonight's 'Eric Andre Show'

andre_rockThe latest season of Adult Swim's The Eric Andre Show has so far featured stars like Seth Rogen and Jimmy Kimmel and an episode takeover by Hannibal Buress, and tonight's new episode should be just as entertaining when guest Chris Rock joins Andre on the street for a new installment of "Bird Up!" The episode airs on Adult Swim tonight at 12:15am. Check out a preview clip via The Howard Stern Show below: READ MORE

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TruTV Orders a Workplace Comedy Pilot Starring Shaquille O'Neal

shaqShaq might star in his own TruTV comedy series. Deadline reports that the network has handed a pilot order to Shaq Inq., a workplace comedy "in the tone of Veep." Shaq Inq. will follow O'Neal and his "offbeat, yet capable" business team who take on "the mayhem of managing Shaq’s existing products and endorsements while implementing his latest batch of eccentric and oftentimes brilliant business ideas. While they’re all working towards the same goal, each employee is constantly jockeying for the power and recognition to make the big guy proud." The pilot is written by The Wedding Ringer's Jeremy Garelick, directed by Galavant's John Fortenberry, and co-executive produced by Jon Weinbach and Trophy Wife's Dan Kaplow.

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'The Birthday Boys' Is Done on IFC After Two Seasons

birthday_boysAfter two seasons on IFC, The Birthday Boys is no longer. IFC has confirmed that the Bob Odenkirk-produced sketch show starring Jefferson Dutton, David Ferguson, Mike Hanford, Tim Kalpakis, Matt Kowalick, Mike Mitchell, and Chris VanArtsdalen will not return for a third season. "IFC was proud to be the home of The Birthday Boys and their unique and inventive comedy for two seasons," the network said in a statement. "We thank these talented creators and wish them nothing but the best. We will miss the laughs, the farce and the pixilated male nudity." The group also posted a goodbye message of their own on YouTube today, which you can watch below: READ MORE

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The "NBC Playground" Contest Couldn't Find Any Ideas Outside of New York, LA, or Chicago

nbccomedyplaygroundRemember when NBC announced its new "grassroots" talent initiative NBC Playground last year in hopes to — in the words of the network — find talented comedy writers by "reaching beyond the traditional talent labs of film schools and NY/LA comedy clubs"? Well, NBC announced the round of finalists last week, and guess where they live? Take a look at the list of finalists below:

Jeff Galante (Los Angeles, CA) – teacher at The Groundlings
Tyler Hall (Brooklyn, NY) – UCB writer
Melissa Hunter (Los Angeles, CA) – iO and Above Average performer
Avery Lee & Bobby Richards (Chicago, IL) – iO performers
Kassia Miller (New York, NY) – UCB, CollegeHumor performer
Daniel Poliner (Brooklyn, NY) – award-winning filmmaker (Austin Film Festival, Sundance, New Orleans Film Festival, Filmfest New Haven)
Jameel Saleem (Los Angeles, CA)Manhattan Love Story writer; film/television actor
Adriano Valentini & Aaron Colom (Los Angeles, CA) – SAG actor/writers/producers

Not only is every finalist from one of the major cities that NBC claimed it would avoid, but they're also writers, performers, and filmmakers who already have their foot in the entertainment industry in one way or another. I don't mean to knock the talent and hard work of these finalists — Melissa Hunter's hit web series Adult Wednesday Addams is a particular standout — but this group includes performers and teachers from UCB, iO, The Groundlings, CollegeHumor, and Above Average, SAG-AFTRA members, writers with major network TV credits, and even finalists of similar contests (filmmaker Adriano Valentini was a finalist on HBO's Project Greenlight in December). Apparently NBC's idea of including comedy concepts from "across the country" means sticking with established writers/performers from the country's three biggest comedy hubs while overlooking aspiring TV show creators from the 47 other states who would've benefitted most from a "grassroots" talent initiative. Better luck next time, rest of America.

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Alan Menken Says a 'Mrs. Doubtfire' Musical Is in the Works

09-mrsdoubtfireThe rumored Mrs. Doubtfire sequel might not be moving forward, but now it looks like the 1993 film is getting the stage musical treatment. Entertainment Weekly confirmed with Alan Menken — who wrote music for Disney classics like The Little Mermaid and Aladdin — that he's composing music for an upcoming Doubtfire musical, David Zippel (Hercules) is writing the lyrics, and Harvey Fierstein is writing the book. "It's going very well, it's in its early stages, and that's probably all I can say," Menken told EW. "We're really enjoying working on it."

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Fred Armisen Announces the Charlie Chaplin Photo Awareness Festival on 'Late Night'

During last night's Late Night, Seth Meyers checked in with band leader Fred Armisen to ask about his latest project "Charlie Fest," an all-day music festival that hopes to raise awareness of pictures of Charlie Chaplin, particularly for younger people who might not be aware that there are Chaplin photos out there. It's tough work, but Armisen seems up to the task.

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Ricky Velez and Larry Wilmore Explain the History of US/Cuba Relations on 'The Nightly Show'

Last night's Nightly Show took on the recent diplomatic talks between the US and Cuba, so Larry Wilmore invited correspondent and "Cuba expert" Ricky Velez to the desk to provide some historical context to the two countries' evolving relationship. Wilmore breaks it down even better: "You know who Cuba is to us? You know that uncle that your parents had a falling out with like 50 years ago? Nobody knows what really happened, rumors are my dad tried to kill him a couple times, but he's got this real cool beach house right down the street and you see those little pictures of the crazy parties he used to have with Sinatra and Hemingway hanging out. Got all those '59 Chevys and you're just dying to visit him — your dad's like 'No!' Well now he's saying, 'We'll see.'"

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Adam Sandler, Lena Dunham, Maria Bamford, and Judd Apatow Talk OCD on 'Late Late Show'

Judd Apatow guest-hosted last night's Late Late Show, and he brought along an all-star guest lineup: Adam Sandler, Lena Dunham, and Maria Bamford. Watch the four discuss their OCD issues above, then check out Apatow's cold open with his daughter below: READ MORE

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Learn What It's Like to Be the Voice of Comedy Central with Kyle Kinane

Kyle Kinane doesn't just have a new Comedy Central standup special airing tomorrow — he also happens to be the official voice of the network, offering up his unique "Kinane Technique" to CC's many promos. In the above clip, Kinane shares some tricks of the trade, from his special coffee/gin drink mix to the maybe-illegal South American throat lubricants that keep his voice in peak shape, Wednesdays be damned.

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Matt Braunger's Comedy Central Special Airs on February 6th

matt_braungerStandup Matt Braunger has a new standup special out next month. Comedy Central announced today that Braunger's second hourlong special Big, Dumb Animal will air on Friday, February 6th at midnight. Big, Dumb Animal was filmed at The Bell House in Brooklyn and covers "why being 39 is lamer than being 40, the absurdity of a quiet Jägerbomb, why his hometown of Portland is too nice of a place, and what it is to be a big dumb animal with an anger problem. Also, how he got the nickname 'Peaches.'"

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Trevor Potter Looks Back on Setting Up Stephen Colbert's Super PAC

colbert_stewart_potterStephen Colbert's former lawyer Trevor Potter wrote a piece for The Washington Post this week to mark the fifth anniversary of the Supreme Court Citizens United decision, and it's a great look back at the brilliance and lasting influence of Stephen Colbert's super PAC "Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow." Potter appeared on The Colbert Report several times during the Colbert Super PAC saga and was tasked with drafting up all legal documents and assisting Colbert in the purely legal financial venture, and in the Washington Post article he outlines some his most notable lessons learned from the whole process. Here's an excerpt:

When the Colbert Super PAC closed down, I told Stephen that he would make a brilliant Supreme Court advocate, because he can absorb complicated facts and make them seem straightforward and understandable. Colbert went one step further — he got them down to a five-minute summary, and made them funny as well. We can only hope that someone half as skilled can get the Supreme Court to understand had badly wrong the post-Citizens United political system has gone.

Read the rest over at The Washington Post.

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Amazon to Stream 'Transparent' for Free This Saturday

transparentIf you're not an Amazon Prime member, you can still check out the streaming network's Golden Globe-winning original series Transparent this weekend. Amazon announced today that all ten episodes of Transparent's debut season will be available to view for free this Saturday, January 24th. According to Variety, the Jill Soloway-created series gained over 250% more viewers after winning two Golden Globes earlier this month and remains Amazon's most popular show on Prime Instant Video. Check out our breakdown of what made Transparent's first season so great here.

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This Week in Comedy Podcasts: Bill Burr Chats with Jeff Garlin

bill_burrThe comedy podcast universe is ever expanding, not unlike the universe universe. We're here to make it a bit smaller, a bit more manageable. There are a lot of great shows and each has a lot of great episodes, so we want to highlight the exceptional, the noteworthy. Each week our crack team of podcast enthusiasts and specialists and especially enthusiastic people will pick their favorites. We hope to have your ears permanently plugged with the best in aural comedy.

By The Way, In Conversation with Jeff GarlinBill Burr
by the wayPablo: Most astronomers hypothesize that the Moon was created when a planetary body smashed into Earth billions of years ago and got caught in the its orbit. That planetary collision essentially repeated itself when two comics who are as loud as they are funny and opinionated came together for this conversation at Largo last December. Bill Burr, arguably the best standup alive, is in top form as he rants about everything from the NFL's domestic violence PSAs to the proliferation of civilian drone-owners… one of whom was Jeff Garlin after a ridiculous Christmas gift from his manager. But Garlin nearly outdoes him with some classic Larry David tales, including one where LD visits a strip club. This is Burr's moment though, and almost on cue he has a story to top Garlin's: The time he saw a stripper quit on-stage. If you like ball-busting, you'll love this episode for the hard time he gives Garlin but it's also strangely introspective due to an epiphany Burr realizes during the recording: He hates being politely told that he's wrong because he only believes he's right if the other person is yelling at him. READ MORE