In its 40 years of scouting talent from The Groundlings, Second City, and standup clubs, SNL has never felt any competition in the major leagues of comedy star-making. When The Daily Show debuted on Comedy Central in 1996, however, Lorne Michaels and company finally met their match, with stars like Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, John Oliver, Rob Corddry, and Ed Helms all carving out their niches on the mock news show. Over the summer these two worlds officially collided when The Daily Show poached SNL writer Michael Che and elevated him to onscreen status as its newest correspondent, only to see Che swap back to SNL to take over Weekend Update co-anchoring duties. Aside from Che, five other performers have spent time at both The Daily Show and SNL; here they are in no particular order: READ MORE
Comedian and current host of weekly New York standup show Whiplash Aparna Nancherla wrote an interesting blog post today about last night's show, which featured a surprise performance by Chris Rock that quickly turned sour after several audience members started recording his set on their cell phones. Similarly, Hannibal Buress has been making headlines this week over a six-month-old bit he performed in Philadelphia last week calling Bill Cosby a rapist, which would've never made the news had it not been for an audience member recording the joke then uploading it to the internet. Unlike Buress, however, Rock's appearance at Whiplash last night didn't go viral; Nancherla says he ended up leaving "barely over a minute or two after he got there" thanks to the cell phone addicts in the audience. Here's an excerpt from Nancherla's blog post:
Comedy is a rather unique performance art form in that even in its creation, it relies on testing it in front of an audience. Not everything will work, but there has to be an implicit agreement to be there and be present for it. Trying to record things on your phone is a part of the time we live in. Some of us are so mindlessly on our devices all day that you might not even consciously realize how much space they take up in your lives. Nobody experiences anything anymore just for the sake of experiencing it. You know what’s cool about live performance? You were there for it. You got to hear something that was just meant for you. Not for hits or views or clicks. And artists make their living by their ideas. To take them and then get to decide what you want to do with them is unfair and a straight-up violation of another person. And that’s the thing. Chris Rock is a person.
Nancherla ends by advising audience members to "respect art" and "try experiencing a moment without sucking the soul out of it. You can always gasp write about it later and what it meant to you or faint tell it in person to friends so they can relive your experience of it." More solid advice: "Don't be a jerk." The whole post is well worth the read over on Nancherla's blog.
Megan Amram's new book Science…For Her! comes out on November 4th, and she's celebrating the launch with a book tour in the US and Canada. The tour will make stops in Los Angeles, Toronto, Brooklyn, Portland, and more with some special guest appearances from John Hodgman, Megan Mullally, and Amram's mom. Click through for complete book tour information, then check out Amram's super sexy promo video with Nick Offerman, Rich Fulcher, and Steve Agee here. READ MORE
Conan did a great service to its viewers last night by providing live coverage of a CDC patient transportation run-through using their brand new Ebola protocols, which may or may not involve a swingers-only casino riverboat cruise and a chili cook-off.
During his visit to last night's Jimmy Kimmel Live, actor and rapper Ice Cube was tasked with reciting some very sweet lines about rainbows, Crate and Barrel gift cards, and apple picking in the toughest, angriest way possible. Watch his interview below: READ MORE
SNL just made an excellent (and long overdue) casting decision by promoting writer and sometimes-performer Leslie Jones. Deadline reports that Jones has officially been added as a featured player, and her first credited episode will be this Saturday's episode hosted by Jim Carrey. Click through to watch the SNL appearances Leslie Jones has made as a writer so far as well as her standup appearance on Late Night last month: READ MORE
Last week, Stephen Colbert took some time during an episode of The Colbert Report to call out Google CEO Larry Page for getting his height wrong, and it looks like Google has finally responded to Colbert and his lawsuit threats by revising his height — but not to the true 5'11 he demanded. A search for Colbert's height now results in "5' 10.5" (1.79m -ish)" with height comparisons to Jon Stewart ("Shorter"), "circus freak" Conan O'Brien, and of course Larry Page, who is still winning the height game over Colbert by that pivotal half inch. The Colbert Report is airing reruns this week, so it looks like Page and Google have won this battle — but will they win the war?
Check out a screen grab of Colbert's Google results below: READ MORE
Eddie Murphy just landed his first dramatic film role since 2007's Dreamgirls. Slash Film reports that Murphy has signed on to star in an upcoming film directed by Driving Miss Daisy's Bruce Beresford and written by Two and a Half Men writer/producer Susan McMartin. Titled Cook, the film follows Murphy's character as a man "hired by a dying man to cook meals for his girlfriend and daughter after he’s gone." Murphy is reportedly replacing Samuel L. Jackson, who dropped out of the film due to scheduling conflicts. "Everyone now wants to do what Matt McConaughey did, so we’re financing these movies when we think they’re put together the right way," producer Mark Canton said. "This will be Eddie Murphy like you’ve never seen him. Of that I can assure you."
Murphy currently has several comedic roles in the works including Beverly Hills Cop 4 and a Twins sequel Triplets, but most of his roles since his Oscar-nominated Dreamgirls performance has been panned by critics and fans alike (Meet Dave, A Thousand Words, Shrek sequels). Production on Cook begins sometime next month.
After a long wait, FX Networks announced today that its comprehensive Simpsons app called "Simpsons World" will finally be made available to fans tomorrow. The app (which requires a cable subscription login) will include clips, trivia, and access to all 552 Simpsons episodes including current episodes made available the day after they air on Fox, not to mention a bunch of other goodies the network revealed at TCA back in July. Said Simpsons showrunner Al Jean: "Hello 'Simpsons World,' goodbye free time! Seriously."
Check out the full list of "Simpsons World" features below: READ MORE
It's a big week for fans of Jenny Slate and Dean Fleischer-Camp's tiny creation Marcel the Shell. Not only is there a new book called Marcel the Shell: The Most Surprised I've Ever Been out tomorrow, but today they released a brand new video featuring Marcel as he talks about deodorant, the "idiots of the sea," and his plant allergies while experiencing his very first thunderstorm. Check out the first two Marcel the Shell videos here and here.
2005 cult hit The Comeback is returning for a limited six-episode run next month, and HBO just released the first trailer. The show's return is being treated as a "standalone event series" but might get a full season renewal if the episodes do well, so the true future of The Comeback is up to you.
From a Police Academy reboot to a Substitute Teacher movie to a collaboration with Judd Apatow, Comedy Central stars Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele have been in talks to develop a ton of film projects lately. Deadline reports that they've lined up their first official film with New Line, and it's definitely the weirdest of all the projects in their pipeline. Written by Peele and Key and Peele/Community writer Alex Rubens, Keanu will tell "the story of friends who pose as drug dealers to infiltrate the criminal underworld, all to retrieve a stolen kitty." Here's how Peele summed it up: "The movie should resonate with a large audience as almost everyone has had a house pet stolen by a street gang, right?" No other details on Keanu have been revealed, but Key and Peele director Peter Atencio is in talks to helm the project, which is slated to begin shooting in April 2015.
Not long after director Edgar Wright left Marvel's Ant-Man film in May, Adam McKay was chosen to help rewrite the script for new director Peyton Reed and recently revealed to Collider that he enlisted star Paul Rudd to help out. "Ultimately I didn't want to jump in as director, I had too many other projects going on and it was too tight," McKay said, "but I thought, 'You know what, I can rewrite this, and I can do a lot of good by rewriting it.'" McKay went on to say that Rudd turned out to be "really great with dialogue" and that they "holed up in hotel rooms on the east and west coast" to rework the script for weeks, adding "a giant action sequence" to the film and some more dialogue:
"We just shaped the whole thing, we just tried to streamline it, make it cleaner, make it a little bigger, a little more aggressive, make it funnier in places—we just basically did a rewrite. Edgar had a really good script. But we just had a blast, and Rudd was just so much fun to write with. I walked away saying, 'Hey, you and I gotta write a script together.'"