SNL's final episode of 2014 airs this weekend with host Amy Adams and musical guest One Direction, and NBC released the first round of promos featuring Adams and Taran Killam catching some holiday spirit thanks to some imaginary snow and the Rockefeller Christmas tree.
Back in August it was announced that comedy group Broken Lizard was developing a show for TBS called Quality Time, and today THR reports that the network has now given the show a pilot order. Described as an "untraditional fatherhood comedy," Quality Time will star Broken Lizard's Paul Soter, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, and Erik Stolhanske and follow "four college friends who kept their sophomoric ways in suspended animation throughout their 20s and are now succumbing to reproduction." The four will also co-write and executive produce the pilot.
Earlier this month, comedian Dan Klein released a fantastic collection of standup tropes and clichés in the form of an hourlong special titled This Is Comedy. Last week, however, Klein discovered that YouTube had removed his video due to a copyright claim by a Moscow-based broadcasting network named "OJSC TNT," which according to Businessweek focuses on "serial, reality-show, and talk-show programs for men and women." Klein's special clearly didn't include any footage from another source, let alone a Russian television show, but removing videos due to bizarre copyright claims is nothing new for YouTube. In any case, YouTube told Klein that if the claim is confirmed false his video will potentially be restored in 10 days, so hopefully I Am Comedy makes a glorious return to the internet in time for the holidays.
After nine years on the air, The Colbert Report ends its run on Comedy Central this Thursday. To celebrate all the wonderful things Colbert has brought to the parody news show format, Vulture reached out to 49 celebrity fans and former Colbert Report guests to get their final word on the show and give "Stephen Colbert" a proper sendoff. Here's an excerpt from Dan Savage's response:
I think we clicked — me and "Stephen Colbert" — because that stuff doesn't offend or faze me, and I like my bigots like Homer Simpson likes his homosexuals: flaming. Stephen — the real Stephen — is a genius, first and foremost, but his character, this right-wing blowhard, was the best way to send up O'Reilly and Hannity and the rest of the right-wing blowhards. Stephen took their toxic politics and their self-regard as a starting-off point and added just a touch of cluelessness and something both of those men lack — charisma. Colbert demonstrated that agreeing with them — or pretending to agree with them — was the deadliest way to satirize them.
And here's J.J. Abrams:
The key for me was to remember that he is brilliantly funny — and that the last thing I needed to worry about was being funny. Stephen does all the heavy lifting. Its point of view [was what made it special]. The show had its rules, but they would bend and break them all the time. Knowing that Stephen usually felt the opposite of what he was saying — through some of the best writing ever on TV — was an added pleasure.
Read the rest of the collection over at Vulture, but be warned that it might bring you to tears.
"I think the thing about finales is everybody writes their own finale in their head, whereas if they just tune in during the week to a normal show, they’re surprised by what's going on. They haven't written it beforehand, they don't know what the show is. But for a finale, they go, 'Oh, well this should happen to George, and Jerry and Elaine should get together,' and all that. They've already written it, and often they're disappointed, because it's not what they wrote."
- Larry David looks back on the mixed response to the Seinfeld series finale and more in a new interview with Bill Simmons.
As The Colbert Report comes to an end, Comedy Central's new late night host Larry Wilmore is prepping for his big debut as host of The Nightly Show on Monday, January 19th. Comedy Central released a new promo for the show this week, which includes a promise from Wilmore that he'll bring "extra nightly-ness" to the late night world next year.
The third season finale of IFC's Comedy Bang! Bang! airs this Friday at 11:00pm, and Scott and Reggie close out 2014 with the above very special performance by The Lonely Island singing about life as a hustler. Thankfully we won't have to wait very long after the season finale — Comedy Bang! Bang! season 4 is just around the corner on Friday, January 9th at 11:00pm.
In the hopes of fixing some of our government's problems back home, The Daily Show's Jordan Klepper recently took a trip to Sweden to meet its new prime minister Stefan Löfven for a crash course in the country's eight-party system. Don't worry, there's plenty of Ikea and Swedish Fish jokes too.
Here's a clip from Eric Andre's visit to last night's Conan, where he insisted he was a better monologist than O'Brien and was given a few minutes to prove it with some solid jokes and a very supportive audience member. Watch more from Andre's appearance below: READ MORE
Broad City finally returns to Comedy Central for its second season on January 14th, and the network released a brand new promo today featuring the ladies checking out some hot poolside bros. Anything is possible with a little imagination, right?
The return of Tom Scharpling's Best Show just got a premiere date. In a Twitter update today, Scharpling revealed that his hit radio show will return on its new home at thebestshow.net tomorrow at 9:00pm. Here's what Scharpling had to say about reviving The Best Show online in our interview with him last week:
We’ll find out what we can do with this other area that we haven’t had a chance to explore. I really want to make a run at it and see what it can be. See what I can turn this thing into. I feel like I pushed pretty hard on the show in a lot of ways, but I don’t think I’ve pushed the way I plan on pushing. I’ve [recently] passed on stuff in my life that would pay — a real job that I really wanted — because I had to give this thing a chance. I can’t go thirteen-plus years with it and then, at the last second, not give it the shot that I have to give it.
Cameron Crowe's in-the-works Showtime pilot Roadies just added another cast member. THR reports that Mad Men's Christina Hendricks has signed on to play production manager Shelli, described as "tough but privately emotional, married to her job and scary good at it." Hendricks joins previously announced cast members Luke Wilson, Imogen Poots, Keisha Castle-Hughes, Peter Cambor, and Rafe Spall. Roadies makes the second TV comedy project involving Hendricks in recent months following October's news that she had joined the cast of Natasha Leggero and Riki Lindhome's upcoming Comedy Central series Another Period.
Netflix just added another new standup special to its slate. According to Variety, the streaming network will premiere former Last Comic Standing winner Iliza Shlesinger's brand new hourlong standup special Freezing Hot on Friday, January 23rd. The special was recorded at Denver's Gothic Theatre and "explores truths about first-date attire, fantasy breakups and women’s obsession with fall." In addition to winning season 6 of Last Comic Standing, Shlesinger also starred in her own Comedy Central Presents special in 2010, has appeared on @midnight, The Pete Holmes Show, and The Tonight Show, and currently hosts her own podcast Truth and Iliza.
While watching this weekend's SNL hosted by first-timer Martin Freeman, I couldn't help but wonder what the show's original head writer Michael O'Donoghue might have thought of an episode that turned the recently released CIA torture report into jokes about autocorrect and Time Warner Cable, all while tens of thousands of people crowded the length of Sixth Avenue just outside the 30 Rockefeller doors in protest of police brutality and racism. Fans who abandoned SNL back in the '80s will be the quickest to point out that the show's satire hasn't had any edge since O'Donoghue left, but those of us still who still watch regularly know that argument isn't worth the frustration. The truth is, SNL is still packed with plenty of subversive humor and political bite — you just have to know where to look for it. Rarely does the cold open serve as a symbol of SNL's once-trademark "Not Ready for Prime Time" energy or a bellwether of alternative thought these days, but for its dogged lifetime fans, some of SNL's rising writers continue to serve up glimmers of hope hidden in pretaped segments and Weekend Update bits where they can't be cut in favor of another musical number, recurring character, or talk/reality show sendup.
Thankfully, season 40's writing problem was completely overshadowed by the energy of the performers and live audience during Freeman's episode this past weekend. Known for a mix of roles both dramatic (the Hobbit films, FX's Fargo, BBC's Sherlock) and comedic (the original Office, Edgar Wright's Cornetto trilogy, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy), Freeman repeatedly pivoted from low-key straight man to a capable jokester on his own through adorable awkward dancing, fake saxophone playing, or public declarations of his love for Leslie Jones. Charming, versatile, and game to share (and sometimes completely give away) the spotlight, Freeman came to this episode with a commitment to even the weakest sketches that often saved them, along with MVPs Kate McKinnon and Taran Killam, in surprising ways during the last few seconds. The night had its fair share of duds, but it's worth noting that it completely avoided recurring characters and sketches and didn't rely on a single unnecessary celebrity cameo (sorry, Cumberbatch fans). On top of that we were gifted with two future Christmas classics (including a very Catholic slam dunk from writers Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider) that will get tons of play time at holiday gatherings next week, not to mention Sasheer Zamata's Weekend Update debut co-written with Natasha Rothwell, which proved to be more poignant and in tune with current events than any cold open of the year. READ MORE