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This Week in Comedy Podcasts: Horatio Sanz and Ben Schwartz Celebrate Secular Christmas

schwartz_sanzThe 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.

The Hooray Show with HoratioThe First Ever Very Special Secular February Christmas Episode

hooray_show_horatioElizabeth: Ben Schwartz joins Horatio Sanz for the third episode of The Hooray Show. The show starts with plenty of SNL reminiscing—Ben talks about freelancing for SNL’s Weekend Update and how Horatio helped him finally get two jokes on the air, and Horatio does the impressions he did for his audition (Meatloaf, Truman Capote, and Unsolved Mysteries host Robert Stack getting prank calls). Later they call Samm Levine who is on his way to a Justin Timberlake concert, but takes time to give Horatio a glowing character reference. Horatio and producer Chad Krueger take some calls from listeners on their way to New Year’s Eve celebrations and then Horatio and Ben sing Horatio’s SNL Christmas song along with recordings left by listeners. It’s a charming end to the show and enough to make you wish it really was Christmas today (and overlook the fact that the Christmas in February show is actually in January). READ MORE

SNL
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Eddie Murphy Confirms He's Attending the 'SNL' 40th Anniversary Special

eddie_murphy_updateHuge news, SNL fans: Eddie Murphy is ending his 30-year SNL absence and is headed to the show's 40th anniversary special set to air on February 15th. Murphy revealed the news during a phone interview with News One when asked about why he's never returned to the show since leaving in 1984: "It's just timing. It just never worked out where the timing was right for me to do it … They're actually having a 40th anniversary I think in two weeks. I'm going to that, and that'll be the first time I've been back since I left."

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NBC Orders Supernatural Comedy Pilot 'Strange Calls'

strange_callsAustralian paranormal comedy series Strange Calls is being developed for American audiences for a third time. THR reports that NBC has given a pilot order to a remake of the show produced by Aaron Kaplan and written by Cougar Town's Blake McCormick. The single-cam series follows "an affable but down-on-his-luck young police officer who is transferred to a rural town where — with the help of a peculiar, elderly night watchman — he starts to realize the town has a bizarre supernatural underbelly." ABC developed the show as a potential series twice in 2012 and 2014, but it ultimately did not move forward at the network. Watch a preview for the original series below: READ MORE

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Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan's 'Catastrophe' Is Coming to Amazon

catastrophe_delaney_horganRob Delaney and Sharon Horgan's new Channel 4 comedy Catastrophe is coming to the States. Variety reports that Amazon has signed a deal with the show to stream exclusively on Prime Instant Video starting this spring. The series is currently in the middle of its six-episode first season and already landed a second season renewal. "Rob and Sharon have created an engaging, contemporary, funny and moving story,” Amazon exec Roy Price said on the news. "We are excited to bring Catastrophe exclusively to our Amazon Prime customers and can’t wait to hear what they think of the series." Check out a trailer for Catastrophe below: READ MORE

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Fred Armisen on the Evolution of 'Portlandia,' 'SNL,' and American Accents

fred_armisen_spikePortlandia's fifth season premiered on IFC earlier this month, and for longtime fans of the show, the newest crop of episodes have been the perfect culmination of four years' worth of exploring the many characters, small businesses, and human idiosyncracies in the magical world of Portland. But Portlandia isn't the only thing that's evolved and changed over the past few years — co-creator and star Fred Armisen has moved from his SNL roots to be the new Late Night band leader and has a brand new IFC show set to debut later this year, so it looks like 2015 will be another busy year for one of TV's favorite punk rock/comedian hybrids. I recently spoke with Armisen about how he approached the new season of Portlandia, NBC's upcoming SNL 40th anniversary special, and his hopes to one day master every American accent since 1930. READ MORE

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A Flight of the Conchords Tour Is in the Works for Late 2015

flight of the conchordsGood news for Flight of the Conchords fans: There's a possible tour in the works later this year. Speaking at the Sundance Film Festival, Jemaine Clement revealed the news that he and Bret McKenzie "are planning on touring later on in the year in the States. It isn't very solid yet, but we've been talking about it." Clement didn't give any more details aside from confirming that the tour will be all new material: "I really don't like the studio part of music. I more enjoy playing live and letting others take care of the recording." McKenzie also revealed last year that they landed a four-episode comedy order from HBO and a movie might be in their near future.

TV
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'The Chris Gethard Show' to Premiere on Fusion in April

chris_gethard_showBack in December, Chris Gethard announced that his public access show The Chris Gethard Show is making the move to cable, and now we know its new home. In an announcement during last night's show, Gethard revealed that Fusion has ordered ten episodes of TCGS, which will debut on the network sometime in April. Ahead of the official announcement, I spoke with Gethard about why he's excited to bring TCGS to Fusion, what we can expect from the show, and what he hopes to bring to the table aside from a big chip on his shoulder.

Congratulations on the move to Fusion! Is there a premiere date yet?

We don't have an exact premiere date yet. It looks like it's going down sometime in the spring — it's looking like things will kick off around April. They're thinking of having a few best-ofs on the network before that where they run some of the best episodes from our public access years, so we'll have a presence on the network before that. There are ten episodes coming in April, and we're all really motivated to get out there and kind of fall on our face and see if people might enjoy it.

Why did you end up going with Fusion?

Well, we had a lot of meetings over the past year with a lot of networks, many of whom were just straight up like "This is too bizarre for us." There were a bunch that were like "Hey can you change it this way or that way?" To honor the show though, I'd kind of rather not do it than change it too drastically. We sat down with Fusion, and right away I got the sense that those guys are really cool. In our pitch meeting they were kind of laughing when I was describing a lot of the stuff we've done, and then they were like "Yeah, we think we know how to help you cause even more trouble." As soon as I heard that I knew we were kindred spirits. READ MORE

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Kristen Schaal Is an Ally of Subway Manspreaders Everywhere

The New York City subway system recently took on the issue of "manspreading," and during last night's Daily Show, Women's Issues Correspondent Kristen Schaal appeared to share her unlikely take on it: "As a woman who has struggled her entire life to keep her knees together, I am your ally."

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Christine Taylor Confirms She'll Return as Matilda in 'Zoolander 2'

christine_taylorThe long in-the-works sequel to Ben Stiller's 2001 film Zoolander is starting to take shape, and now we have confirmation that the movie's only sane character is set to return. According to Entertainment Weekly, Christine Taylor has officially confirmed that she'll reprise her role as Matilda Jeffries in Zoolander 2 but was quiet on the details: "I can tell you that I’m involved, but that’s all I can say. I can tell you it’s happening, but I can’t tell you where Matilda’s at and where their relationship is at. It’s all top secret!" Stiller said in 2011 that the sequel will take place ten years after the original film, and Will Ferrell confirmed last year that he'll be returning as Mugatu. Fingers crossed that the The Derek Zoolander Center For Kids Who Can't Read Good And Wanna Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too is still in business.

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Kristen Wiig, Jon Hamm, Jason Schwartzman, and Chris Pine Join 'Wet Hot American Summer'

hamm_wiigAs if the upcoming eight-part Wet Hot American Summer Netflix series couldn't get any better, Deadline reports that four major stars have been added to the already amazing ensemble: Kristen Wiig, Jon Hamm, Jason Schwartzman, and Chris Pine. Hamm will play a "secret spy," Wiig will play a "snobby counselor at the preppy rival camp Camp Tigerclaw,"and Pine's character is only described as "mysterious." The series is set to debut sometime this summer.

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Key and Peele Get Ready for the Super Bowl with "East/West Bowl Pro Edition"

Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele are hosting Comedy Central's first-ever Super Bowl special Friday night, and today they released a clip featuring a brand new installment of their hit Key and Peele "East/West Bowl" sketches, this time for pros only. They brought along some real NFLers with amazing names too like D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Ishmaa'ily Kitchen, and Frostee Rucker.

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Kevin Spacey Will Transform Into a Cat in New Movie 'Nine Lives'

spacey_catMove over, Rob Schneider-as-a-carrot, because there's a new transformation comedy star in town. The Wrap reports that Oscar winner Kevin Spacey has signed on to star in Nine Lives from Men in Black director Barry Sonnenfeld, which is described as both a "high-concept comedy" and "funny, emotional, commercial comedy." What's the high concept, you ask? Spacey will play a businessman who "suffers a terrible accident that leaves him trapped in the body of the family cat." Nine Lives won't be the first high-concept cat comedy Spacey has starred in onscreen — check out his 2014 short for Jimmy Kimmel "Ameowadeus" below: READ MORE

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David Letterman Sends Jay Leno an Invitation to Appear on 'Late Show'

Leno and LettermanLongtime late night nemeses David Letterman and Jay Leno might have a chat before Letterman exits Late Show in May. TV Insider is reporting that reps from Late Show have reached out to Leno with an invitation to appear as a guest on the show before it ends its run on CBS, but Leno has yet to formally accept the offer. Leno and Letterman most recently reunited in a 2010 Late Show Super Bowl ad with Oprah, but the last time Leno appeared as Letterman's late night guest was May 7, 1992 prior to the premiere of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Leno said last year that he was open to possibly appearing on Late Show: "That could happen, why not. It's certainly a possibility. Some of my best moments were doing the show with Dave." When asked about the open invitation last week, Leno's response was a little more aloof: "I haven't heard that. I'll have to check into that." Check out an old clip of Leno performing on Late Night with David Letterman below: READ MORE

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Maya Rudolph and Jaden Smith Join Lorne Michaels' New HBO Pilot

maya_rudolphLorne Michaels is producing a new pilot for HBO. THR reports that the pay network is currently developing a comedy pilot called Brothers in Atlanta from former Late Night with Jimmy Fallon writers Diallo Riddle and Bashir Salahuddin. The duo will star as "struggling entertainers and best friends Langston (Riddle) and Moose (Salahuddin) trying to navigate relationships and life in the black mecca of Atlanta." SNL alum Maya Rudolph and Jaden Smith have both signed on for recurring roles — Rudolph will play Moose's boss and former "R&B diva" Shirle, while Smith will play Curtis, Langston's "rowdy neighbor with unpredictable interests and suspicious income." Riddle and Salahuddin had a similar Atlanta-set pilot in the works at HBO in 2013, but the project was not ordered to series by the network.