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John Oliver, Kenan Thompson, Ken Jeong shine in Wonder Park trailer (Video)

Punchline Headlines - Thu, 11/15/2018 - 15:00

“It’s time to open the park.”

Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies dropped the first full-length trailer for Wonder Park on Wednesday and it’s chockfull of voice talent from your favorite comedy stars.

The movie centers around a young girl named June (voiced by Brianna Denski) who discovered an amusement park that is full of magical rides and talking animals nestled inside ostensibly abandoned woods. June learns that she has created the park with her imagination and, as such, is the only person that can save Wonder Park.

The animated film is directed by David Brown and features the voice talents of Jennifer Garner (June’s mom), Matthew Broderick, John Oliver, Mila Kunis, Kenan Thompson, Ken Jeong, Norbert Leo Butz, Brianna Denski, and Ken Hudson Campbell.

And if that hasn’t piqued your interest, there are chimpanzombies. Check out the trailer for that one. They’re really beyond description.

“My mom and I invented this place and somehow you came alive,” says June to her colorful friends that include a big bear, a warthog, and a porcupine, the last of whom insists, “I’m nobody’s pin cushion.”

The film is the directorial debut of veteran Pixar animator Brown, who was fired from the project in January after multiple women made “allegations of inappropriate and unwanted conduct,” according to a Paramount rep at the time. The studio replaced him with David Feiss and Wonder Park is still scheduled for its original March 15 release.

Check out the trailer!

Steve Carell shows off acting chops in SNL promo (Video)

Punchline Headlines - Thu, 11/15/2018 - 12:58

Steve Carell recently poked fun at his plunge into dramatic acting in the new Saturday Night Live promo video and addressed concerns that some of his comedy fans might worry they’ve forever lost the Office star to the dramatic arts.

In the promo, SNL’s Aidy Bryant and Chris Redd ask Carell if he’s still capable of comedy. “You’re kind of, like, a serious actor now,” Bryant tells Carell. “Are you ready to do comedy again? Because this is a comedy show.”

Carell responds that a serious actor can prepare for any role. Cue to a montage of Carell engaging in serious actor activities: reading books, talking to a mirror, practicing and pacing, and expressing his frustration by tearing pages from a notebook. Finally, at the end of his training, he is ready to hear about the character he will be playing on SNL. The name of the role? Dr. Farts (of course).

All that training definitely paid off.

Of course, there’s no reason to fret. Carell is no stranger to hosting SNL and has previously hosted the show twice: once in October 2005 and again in May 2008. However, in the last decade since he’s hosted, the 40-Year-Old Virgin star has been nominated for a slew of awards for dramatic turns in Battle of the Sexes, The Big Short, and Foxcatcher, the last of which earned him an Oscar nod.

The 56-year-old Carell is hot off a press tour for his new film Beautiful Boy, co-starring fellow Academy Award nominee Timothée Chalamet. The film is based on the best-selling memoirs from father and son authors David and Nic Sheff and deals with Nic’s struggles with drug addiction.

Carell hosts Saturday Night Live with musical guest Ella Mai on Nov. 17.

2 Dope Queens podcast ends with Michelle Obama

Punchline Headlines - Wed, 11/14/2018 - 17:11

2 Dope Queens released their final podcast Wednesday. The final episode of the hit podcast features an interview with former First Lady Michelle Obama. The podcast is hosted by comedians Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson. Since 2016, they have brought their own brand of comedy, interviews, and discussion on topics important in the black community to the show’s huge fan base.

While the two real-life-friends stayed extremely busy with their careers, they always made time for their podcast. Robinson just released her second book, Everything’s Trash, but It’s Okay, hosts a second podcast called Sooo Many White Guys, and is a frequent guest on late night shows.

Williams is most well-known as a senior correspondent on The Daily Show—which she left in 2016—but she also starred in her own Netflix original movie, The Incredible Jessica James. This weekend she will appear in the upcoming Harry Potter film Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.

The comedy duo announced that the episode would be their last episode on their show’s WNYC Studios page. The farewell begins, “We’ve got some big news, so you might want to sit back like Wendy Williams about to serve the tea. The final episode of our beloved podcast 2 Dope Queens is hitting your feeds today! In the words of Boyz II Men, it’s the “end of the road.” We want to thank you, listeners, for being with us from the very beginning.”

The farewell also introed the episode saying, “As for this last episode, we are going out with a bang, y’all. A conversation with her majesty Michelle Obama. When the queen calls, the Queens answer! We couldn’t have dreamed up a better, more meaningful, finale.”

Though the show hadn’t released a regular episode since December 2017, the podcast’s feed has put out a couple of off-show episodes. The Queens will still release their second round of HBO specials in 2019. The set of specials was beloved by fans and HBO ordered taped versions of 4 more live shows.

In the surprise finale, Queens cover having black hair in the oval office, Obama’s efforts to make education more accessible for girls all over the world, the importance of talking about periods, and even got the former FLOTUS to get a little silly, making her chose between U2 and Billy Joel (for the record Obama loves Bono).

Listen to the emotional final episode here:

Jim Gaffigan: Noble Ape making Comedy Central debut

Punchline Headlines - Wed, 11/14/2018 - 16:00

No Netflix? No problem! Jim Gaffigan returns to Comedy Central with his stand-up special Noble Ape on November 23. Gaffigan chose not to release Noble Ape on Netflix like his previous two specials Cinco and Obsessed. Instead, it released theatrically and has been available for streaming on a variety of On Demand platforms since July. And, of course, the album is available for purchase on iTunes.

Noble Ape will make its network debut in a special 90-minute event. In it he discusses his family’s medical crisis, when doctors found a benign tumor in his wife and writing partner Jeannie. His wife actually directed the special. The incident almost caused the clean comedian to retire from comedy altogether.

Gaffigan skipped over another Netflix release, in part, because of his fondness for the comedy album. “I love Netflix. Netflix has been very good to me,” the comedian told Forbes. “When you go to Netflix, the album is kind of removed from it. I’ve had a lot of people who have discovered me through audio streaming services or satellite radio. I just didn’t want to limit that.”

The special’s producer Comedy Dynamics has become a major player in stand-up comedy. They’ve struck big deals with Hulu, produced original stand-up content, and continues to produce some of the top albums and specials.

Jim Gaffigan: Noble Ape airs on November 23 at 11:00 p.m on Comedy Central. It can also be viewed on CC.com and the Comedy Central App the following day.

Kurt Braunohler, Cedric the Entertainer sell CBS comedy Dad Vs. Father

Punchline Headlines - Wed, 11/14/2018 - 15:00

Kurt Braunohler and Cedric the Entertainer are coming to CBS. The eyeball network is developing Dad Vs. Father, a multi-camera comedy, about new parents Karl and Leanne who move in with Karl’s deadbeat dad—and all of the family drama that comes with him. An older father of two 14-year-old girls, the father and son find themselves in competition to prove who is the better father.

Braunohler and Cedric the Entertainer will both executive produce, with Braunohler also serving as writer.

The writer-comedian comes off the tails of starring in the Oscar-nominated movie The Big Sick and releasing his hour-long Comedy Central special Trust Me last year. He’s set to guest star in the upcoming Showtime comedy Black Monday.

Cedric the Entertainer is already starring in his own CBS comedy The Neighborhood opposite New Girl’s Max Greenfield. The show has taken well with audiences as the network just extended the show to a full-season order. The ‘original king of comedy’ can also be seen with Tracy Morgan in The Last O.G. on TBS. He also has a couple of movie roles announced in pre-production.

No word yet on casting or if either Braunohler or Cedric the Entertainer will have on-camera roles in the comedy.

Bill Cosby trial date set for sexual assault against a minor

Punchline Headlines - Wed, 11/14/2018 - 13:53

Bill Cosby is going back to court, this time for a civil lawsuit over the alleged 1974 sexual assault of a minor. Judy Huth claims the disgraced stand-up comedian molested her at the Playboy Mansion when she was 15-years old. A Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Craig Kaplan has set a trial date for October 7, 2019.

Cosby is currently serving a three to 10-year sentence for raping a former Temple University employee in his home in 2004. As consistent among many other accusers (there are over 60), Andrea Constand claimed that the man who once called Eddie Murphy to say he was too dirty gave her pills before violating her sleeping body.

Huth’s civil suit was set to begin next month but was pushed back to accommodate the court calendar and Cosby’s recent incarceration. The 81-year old sexual predator has attempted to get the case dismissed using multiple arguments—all of which have been denied.

“Judgment day finally came for Bill Cosby in the criminal case,” Huth’s lawyer Gloria Allred told Deadline. “He was convicted of 3 felonies and was classified as a sexually violent predator. Now it is time for justice in the civil case for our client…While he is sitting in prison, he will have to be concerned that he will not be able to avoid facing a civil jury and judgement day in Santa Monica in Ms. Huth’s case.”

It’s been a long four years since Hannibal Burress called the Cosby Show star a rapist during a stand-up set in 2014. A floodgate seemingly opened as victims’ stories rushed in and tallied up (even if 90% are lying, that’s still six victims). Though Cosby’s predatory behavior has long been a known secret amongst the comedy community, Burress’s call out seemed to give others like Kenan Thompson and Chelsea Handler permission to speak up with criticisms.

The new trial date will take place a little over a year into Cosby’s current sentence. He will likely not be able to seek parole until 2021.

Amanda Seales HBO special I Be Knowin’ out next year

Punchline Headlines - Wed, 11/14/2018 - 12:30

Amanda Seales will get her own HBO comedy special. The one-hour special, titled I Be Knowin’, will film on November 25 at the Edison Ballroom in Manhattan and release in early 2019.

“‘I Be Knowin’ is 37 years of finding the funny, culminating in an hour,” says Seales in a release, “and my HBO family being the place where I get to share it, makes this, my first special, even that much more special.”

Seales is a series regular on the acclaimed HBO series Insecure; the writer, producer, and star of two seasons of the web comedy series, Get Your Life; and is currently touring Smart Funny & Black, her live comedic competition show. When she’s not commanding laughs onstage and onscreen, she’s speaking to college students about race and gender with comedic talks like “Sideye Seminar: Identifying and Defying Everyday Forms of Sexism.” Seales has a master’s degree in African-American studies from Columbia University. If that’s not enough to keep her busy, she also hosts a weekly podcast, Small Doses.

Anyone who follows Seales recognizes that her social-consciousness infuses her comedy. “Being a stand-up comic is an honor I don’t take lightly,” says Seales, “because I consider humor to be a superpower that allows us to bear the weight of issues and concepts that otherwise seem so much bigger than us.” It’s not all talk for Seales. She made news this past summer when she was part of a comedy coalition that called out YouTuber Darren Knight on his unfunny—and racially insensitive—stand-up set backstage at the Just For Laughs Montreal festival.

Although HBO hasn’t revealed the special’s content, it’s sure to address all the “isms.” Stan Lathan is set to direct, and Jesse Collins is Seales’ co-executive-producer.

Can you hear these 7 comedians in the Toy Story 4 trailer?

Punchline Headlines - Wed, 11/14/2018 - 11:00

Pixar released a trailer for the highly anticipated Toy Story 4. The film is set to come out June 21 of next year. Most of the principal cast is returning to the film, seen spinning through a cloud-filled background in the trailer. While nothing is given away about the plot of the film, it does introduce a new character who is sure to be integral to the story. You can watch the full trailer here.

A slew of comedians have been confirmed as voice actors for the film, both in and out of the trailer released.

Tim Allen is, of course, back as Buzz Lightyear. The comedian has played the character in every film in the series. When the first film came out in 1995, Allen was already a bonified TV star with his show Home Improvement. Even without the Golden Globe Award, Allen had been working as a stand-up for years. Currently, he stars on Last Man Standing, which was saved by Fox after being canceled by ABC. Allen can be heard in the trailer as Buzz next to Woody, who is voiced by Tom Hanks.

Estelle Harris returns as Mrs. Potato Head. The veteran comedian and actress is best remembered for her role as Mrs. Costanza on Seinfeld. Her character was introduced in Toy Story 2 in 1999.

Comedian Blake Clark replaced the late Jim Varney as Slinky Dog after Varney’s death in 2000. Many recognize Varney as the titular character in the Ernest films, but he voiced Slinky Dog in the first two films. Clark voiced the character in the third movie in addition to voiceover roles in a number of shorts and branded video games.

Danny Devito is joining the cast for the first time as Mr. Potato head. The character was originally voiced by the comedy legend Don Rickles. Toy Story 4 was already in production when Rickles passed away in 2017. DeVito was quietly cast as his replacement. Even the IMBD for the movie does not include the Always Sunny star.

The trailer also debuted a new character, Forky. Forky is voiced by Tony Hale. The Arrested Development star gets the most lines in the trailer, screaming that he is “not a toy” and that he doesn’t “belong here.”

After the official trailer premiered, Pixar released a “reaction trailer.” The second video features Jordan Peele and Keegan Michael Key as Bunny and Ducky, two carnival prizes. They crack jokes about the new film only to be interrupted by Woody and Buzz. The comedians have been confirmed to play the same characters in the film and even have their own teaser poster.

Other comedians in the film that were left out of both trailers are Jeff Garlin and Kristen Schaal. They will both be returning to reprise their roles of Buttercup the stuffed unicorn and Trixie the Dinosaur, respectively. Both joined the cast in Toy Story 3.

Drunk History sixth season coming to Comedy Central in January; Corporate renewed

Punchline Headlines - Tue, 11/13/2018 - 16:07

Drunk History is coming back for a sixth season. The hit Comedy Central faux-history show is out with new episodes on Tuesday, January 15, 2019 at 10:00 p.m.

One new episode will be devoted to a parody of Are You Afraid Of The Dark? which will tell the story of how Mary Shelley created Frankenstein. The episode features Evan Rachel Wood as Mary, Seth Rogen as Dr. Frankenstein, Elijah Wood as Percy Shelley, Jack McBrayer as Lord Byron, and Will Ferrell as Frankenstein’s Monster. The episode will feature drunken narration from friend-of-the-show Rich Fulcher.

Drunk History started as a web-series created by Derek Waters and Jeremy Konner in 2007. The idea for the show originated when Waters had a drunken conversation with actor and friend Jake Johnson in which Johnson tried to tell Waters the story of how Otis Redding died. With help from his friend, Michael Cera, Waters premiered the show on Funny or Die. The series continued to air on the site and was briefly aired on HBO before being adapted to a TV series for Comedy Central in 2013.

Drunk History has now become a staple of the network’s lineup. Although the comedy channel will be saying goodbye to Broad City, it has announced a new roster of shows including the long-awaited South Side, sketch-comedy series Alternatino with Arturo Castro, This Week at the Comedy Cellar (which is already airing), and a new series from Jordan Klepper and Anthony Jeselnik. Corporate will also return next year for a second season.

Corporate will premiere right after Drunk History on January 15 at 10:30 p.m. A list of guest stars has been released for the second season, which includes Kyra Sedgwick, Elizabeth Perkins, Kristen Schaal, Sasheer Zamata, Baron Vaughn and Andy Richter.

11 comedians who are more conservative than you thought

Punchline Headlines - Tue, 11/13/2018 - 12:02

Stand-up comedians, as well as the rest of the entertainment industry, are typically seen as liberals and anti-Trump. Although you probably saw many popular comedy stars campaigning for Hillary Clinton in 2016 or encouraging a blue wave during last week’s midterm elections, it’s not common you see celebrities defending President Donald Trump. On Sunday, November 4, a pro-Trump Deplorables” comedy tour kicked off in Dallas with a show the following night in Houston. (Note: Two shows do not a “comedy tour” make, but we won’t get hung up on semantics for the moment.) On the flip side, comedian Dennis Miller just said he wants to distance himself from the right.

In a time when being political means jeopardizing your fan base, what does conservative comedy actually look like? Mostly different versions of white, straight men. Here are 11 well-known comedians who’ve aligned themselves with the right.

Tim Allen

The Last Man Standing star attended Trump’s inauguration and last year compared being a Trump-supporter to being in 1930s Germany.

Owen Benjamin

Owen Benjamin is a conservative comedian banned from Twitter and from performing at some colleges. He talks about it with Alex Jones on InfoWars.

Roseanne Barr.

Unless you’ve been in a coma, this needs no explanation.  

Sam Hyde

The white supremacist supporter tweeted his belief in Pizzagate, called Lena Dunham a “fat pig,” and thinks Patton Oswalt “killed his wife.” In 2016, his show on Adult Swim was canceled.

Adam Sandler

The 100% Fresh comedian keeps his political views close to the vest, but donated more than $2K to Republican Rudy Giuliani’s 2007 presidential campaign. Since then, he’s been evasive of questions about his thoughts on the current President.

Nick DiPaolo

Nick DiPaolo calls himself “center-right,” believes PC culture is ruining America, and was fired from SiriusXM earlier this year for tweeting, “Dear future school shooter, please confine yourself to coll. campuses, specifically faculty lounges at Berkeley, Fresno State etc.”

Kirstie Alley

Cheers actress Kirstie Alley was a supporter of Trump before the 2016 election but has been silent on the issue since.

Adam Carolla

The podcast darling has called himself both a Republican and Libertarian. Though he seemed more “anti-Hillary” than “pro-Trump.”

Larry The Cable Guy

The Blue Collar Comedy Tour star was vocal about his pro-Trump views during the election. Before Trump took office, the comedian said he knew Trump wouldn’t employ nepotism like other politicians. Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner both received top advisor positions in the White House. He’s poised to pin the Presidential Medal of Freedom on the wife of a major GOP donor.

Nate Bargatze

The Tennessee native all but said he’d vote Donald Trump in his 2016 Tonight Show set.

Rob Schneider

Adam Sandler’s dear friend switched from the Democrat to the Republican party in 2013

Sarah Silverman receives star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

Punchline Headlines - Tue, 11/13/2018 - 10:00

Sarah Silverman has gotten a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The Emmy-winning comedian has become the 2,649th name to be added to the iconic Los Angeles walk since its founding in 1961.

The comedian starred in the Sarah Silverman Show on Comedy Central from 2007 to 2010. In 2017, she premiered her new show I Love You, America on Hulu.

The ceremony for the sidewalk star featured Silverman, her ex-boyfriend and talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, and Wreck-It Ralph costar, John C. Reilly. Silverman and Reilly will both be appearing in the Wreck-It Ralph sequel, Ralph Breaks the Internet, premiering November 21. The star has been installed on the walk in front of the Hollywood Toy & Costume Shop.

Kimmel gave a speech about Silverman at the ceremony. He joked about their public relationship saying, “Who can forget her smash hit viral video, ‘I’m effing Matt Damon’? I know I can’t. Sarah won an Emmy for that appearance on my show.” He continued, “Just to be clear, I have never won an Emmy for an appearance on my show.” While Kimmel playfully chided his ex in most of his speech, he finished by saying, “Sarah, you really do deserve this honor. You rank among the great comedians. I think you are a vastly underrated and excellent actress. You sing, you write, you kind of play guitar, you really can do it all.”

Jimmy Kimmel asks who could forget Sarah Silverman’s “smash hit viral video ‘I’m F-ing Matt Damon” during her Hollywood Walk of Fame star ceremony pic.twitter.com/RWiZwDV7fR

— Variety (@Variety) November 9, 2018

After the ceremony, Silverman appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher. She said of the Walk of Fame star, “In a time… where anti-Semitic crime is up 57 percent since this douchebag has taken office, it is not lost on me that I am very lucky that I get a star and I don’t have to sew it on my clothes,” referring to the stars Jews were forced to wear during WWII. She continued, “I don’t know if that’s gallows humor or just like it’s funny ’cause it’s true humor.”

Whitney Cummings, Daniel Tosh, and more affected by Southern California fires

Punchline Headlines - Mon, 11/12/2018 - 20:08

Fires are raging in Southern California and people have taken to social media to share the wreckage left by the blazes. Over 31 people have reportedly died as a result of the fires and homes lost number in the thousands. The town of Paradise, California has found itself completely wiped out by the flames. Many of those evacuated from dangerous areas have returned home to ghostly ash and debris.

The Woolsey and Hill Fires affecting the Los Angeles area have spread to both Malibu and Thousand Oaks, and celebrities have not been immune to the flames. The long list of names affected includes Cher, Gerard Butler, the Kardashians, and Miley Cyrus. Many comedians and comedy stars have also been affected by the blaze.

Rainn Wilson tweeted out a photo of the smoke coming off the fire from a safe distance away. The Office star confirmed that the smoke was coming from the area where his house is. While the actor’s house was narrowly saved, the fires in Thousand Oaks caused many, including himself, to evacuate.

My house is in that. #WoolseyFire pic.twitter.com/dNLhcpiD38

— RainnWilson (@rainnwilson) November 9, 2018

Wilson has been retweeting photos of missing people and fire tips in the days since as a way to help his community.

Daniel Tosh also tweeted about losing his house in the fire, but the Tosh.0 host turned the personal tragedy into a joke.

my home burnt down, but the patriots lost. so, not the worst weekend.

— daniel tosh (@danieltosh) November 11, 2018

The Dolan Brothers also had to be evacuated. The popular comedy YouTubers took a Snapchat video of the smoke thinking it was clouds at first but quickly inhaled too much of it. Grayson Dolan then took to Twitter for updates on the brothers’ health.

Supposedly the wildfire smoke can get you sick and I just woke up throwing up soooo bad

— Grayson Dolan (@GraysonDolan) November 11, 2018

YouTuber Logan Paul also took to Twitter to comment on the Dolans’ original Snapchat video to make fun of their mistake, clearly learning nothing about time and place from his massive faux pax earlier this year. This earned a quick clap-back from Grayson Dolan.

Fuck you REALLY know you made a mistake when even Logan Paul can tell.. https://t.co/TcNUzLIUxN

— Grayson Dolan (@GraysonDolan) November 10, 2018

The host of Comedy Central’s Drunk History, Derek Waters, posted a photo on Instagram dangerously close to the smoke. In the post, he says that he had to stop production of the show as the fire became a danger to the crew and guest.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

First time I’ve ever pulled the plug on shooting Drunk History. I love my job but I love my crew more. this ain’t funny. Be safe everyone and save the animals

Jon Dore Comedy Central special tries to save America (Video)

Punchline Headlines - Mon, 11/12/2018 - 18:35

Can Jon Dore be the Canadian savior America has been praying for? Comedy Central sure hopes so as it debuts Big Questions, Huge Answers with Jon Dore.

In this new special, Dore tackles “the two biggest threats to our children’s safety: cyberbullying and predatory teachers.” Obviously, Dore has something special up his sleeve as this will be airing on Comedy Central and not Vice. In one seemingly bonkers segment, according to Comedy Central’s website, viewers can expect a panel of students “to judge a ‘reverse beauty pageant’ of prospective educators, in a well-meaning but misguided attempt at recruiting ‘safe teachers.’” Honestly, whatever that means, we can’t wait to see it!

Dore is a Canadian comedian who first rose to fame on Canadian Idol and has since gone on to star in shows on IFC, ABC, and CBS. Comedy nerds may recall Jon Dore as one half of maybe the greatest late-night set of all-time when he and Rory Scovel did a “double booked” spot on Conan where they performed their sets at the same time.

Check out the trailer and see for yourself if you believe Dore is the man with the plan. Big Questions, Huge Answers premieres Monday, December 3 at 11:30 p.m. on Comedy Central.

Which South Park character will save the boys from ManBearPig? (Video)

Punchline Headlines - Mon, 11/12/2018 - 18:14

The ManBearPig rampage continues in a brand new South Park episode entitled Nobody Got Cereal? airing Wednesday, November 14 on Comedy Central. The boys are out of jail and on the run from the scourge of ManBearPig!

Before this season, fans of South Park only knew the ManBearPig as a fictional creature created by Al Gore. But as of last week’s episode, Time to Get Cereal, the character is now a fully realized member of the South Park cast of characters.This is Matt and Trey’s small way of making amends to Al Gore for the 2006 episode entitled ManBearPig. In that episode, Al Gore is screaming about the threat of ManBearPig, a stand-in for climate change, which ultimately proves to not be real.

So who will help the citizens of South Park defeat the now-very-real ManBearPig as he tears through town? Obviously Al Gore will be there, but according to the Comedy Central website, we can also expect a little help from another all-time great South Park character who “steps up to help the boys and the rest of the citizens of South Park.”

Will The ManBearPig be defeated? Who will save the boys? Will Stan’s dad stop playing Red Dead Redemption 2? Find out Wednesday, November 14 at 10:00 p.m. ET on Comedy Central or stream later on the Comedy Central App.

Melissa McCarthy, Robin Williams, and 9 funny people who got serious

Punchline Headlines - Mon, 11/12/2018 - 12:00

Comedies rarely get credit for how hard it is to be funny—look at how little respect comedies get from The Academy at the Oscars. So for some comedians, jumping from silly to serious roles can often be a rewarding experience. Comedian Melissa McCarthy is trying her hand at drama in the recently released Can You Ever Forgive Me? Earlier this month, A Star is Born opened with serious cameos from Andrew “Dice” Clay and Dave Chappelle. They join a long tradition of comedians doing serious performances for serious films. We have rounded up our top 10 funny people who took on dramatic roles.

Steve Carell – Foxcatcher (2014)

In 2006, Steve Carrell proved his acting chops in the dark comedy Little Miss Sunshine playing a suicidal, gay uncle. In the years after, Carell has flirted with drama in The Way, Way Back, Dan in Real Life and the recent release Beautiful Boy, but his most impressive role was in 2014’s Foxcatcher as murderer, John du Pont. The film debuted at Cannes and earned Carell an Oscar nomination for Best Actor.

Robin Williams – Good Will Hunting (1997)

Robin Williams earned an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor and a Golden Globe nomination for playing Matt Damon’s therapist. The film turned Damon and Ben Affleck into stars and cemented the Mrs. Doubtfire star’s reputation as a versatile actor. Williams had already been mixing drama with comedy in Oscar-nominated roles for Good Morning Vietnam and Dead Poets Society. He continued to flex those muscles until his death in 2014, including his posthumous role in The Angriest Man in Brooklyn.

Marlon Wayans – Requiem for a Dream (2000)

The Wayans family name is synonymous with comedy, but with Marlon Wayans role in Requiem for a Dream shows that he can go intense. Wayans plays a heroin addict whose life spirals into madness after his addiction causes him to slide into worse and worse situations. The role is extremely gritty for the usually upbeat Wayans showing a new level of acting skill from the comedian.

Roberto Benigni – Life is Beautiful (1997)

Roberto Benigni might be best known in America for his 1997 holocaust film, Life is Beautiful, but in his home country of Italy he is known for his comedy work. He got his start on a satirical TV show called Onda Libera. Life is Beautiful won an Oscar for Best Foreign film and Benigni took one home for Best Actor. While the film has been called a Comedy-Drama, the weight of the subject certainly categorizes the role as a serious one.

Kristen Wiig – Girl Most Likely (2012)

Kristen Wiig often blends comedy and drama in films like The Skeleton Twins and Welcome to Me, but her most dramatic turn is in Girl Most Likely. The performance cemented Wiig as an indie darling and an actress that wasn’t going to shy away from hard topics. While her performances always have elements of comedy, she approaches depression and mental health in powerful ways in her more serious roles.

Andrew “Dice” Clay – Blue Jasmine (2013)

Andrew Dice Clay shows surprising acting chops in this retelling of A Street Car Named Desire from director Woody Allen. Clay is not the only comedian to appear in this film—Louis C.K. plays a philandering husband. Clay, who plays the main character’s brother-in-law, gives a nuanced and grounded performance as a working-class San Franciscan.

Adam Sandler – Reign Over Me (2007)

Adam Sandler hasn’t shied away from tackling dramatic roles in movies like Punch Drunk Love and Funny People, but Reign Over Me is certainly his most profoundly deep work to date. Playing a man that had a mental break down after his entire family died in one of the planes on September 11th, 2001. The character hinges on grieving and the loss of sanity that comes with such trauma. The film has funny moments, but most of them are given to Don Cheadle who plays Sandler’s former college roommate.

Mo’Nique – Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (2009)

The former stand-up plays the titular character’s abusive mother. In a movie full of sadness and pain, one of the most arresting scenes is a monologue delivered by Mo’Nique to Precious (played by breakout star Gabourey Sidibe) and their social worker (a similarly surprising great performance by singer Mariah Carey). The monologue reaches a crescendo with the line, “who was gonna love me.” The monologue is heart-wrenching and often cited as the reason she won the Oscar for the performance.

Jonah Hill – Moneyball (2011)

Jonah Hill has come a long way from when he rocketed onto the scene as the funny fat kid in Apatow films. Hill has proven over the years that he can play a more multi-faceted character than some might expect from the Superbad star. And it all started with Moneyball. The movie follows the true story of the Oakland Athletics 2002 season. Hill plays assistant GM Peter Brand, who tries to use math to make the team great on a small budget. The role earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

Whoopi Goldberg – The Color Purple (1985)

Whoopi Goldberg got her start with one-woman show, but her first-ever film role was 1985’s The Color Purple. Her portrayal of Celie—a mistreated black woman in early 1900s Georgia—would earn her a Golden Globe for Best Actress and an Oscar nomination. Later in her career, she would win an Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for the film Ghost, where she offered some iconic comic relief.

Eugene Mirman, David Cross confirmed for inaugural Janelle James Comedy Festival in New York City

Punchline Headlines - Mon, 11/12/2018 - 09:00

After ten years, Brooklyn’s Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival is getting a rebrand. The inaugural Janelle James Comedy Festival will come to the Bell House this December. While the full line-up has not been announced, some of the talent that will be featured includes Eugene Mirman, Liza Treyger, David Cross, Mia Jackson, and Nore Davis.

The festival will take place the weekend of December 4. Tickets and full lineups will come out in the next week. The festival will include showcases at 8:00 p.m. every night boasting titles like, “Comedians Who Live Nearby” and “Comedians Who Said ‘Well, Who All Gonna Be There?'”

The new namesake of the festival, Janelle James, told Laughspin, “Mirman had a festival named after himself, so when the opportunity came up to do one of my own, I just had to. Plus, I’m a narcissist—my name in lights and whatnot.” James promises the festival will be different from the Mirman fest in more ways than just the name, saying, “There will be new acts, more music, more drunk me interrupting everyone, more side shows, more drumming, and more people like me. You know…The Blacks.”

James was recently on Netflix’s The Comedy Lineup. She was also named one of Just For Laughs Montreal’s New Faces in 2016. She was a writer on BET’s The Rundown with Robin Thede and opened for Chris Rock on his recent Total Blackout tour.

The festival comes from James and producer Caroline Creaghead, who was also the co-producer for the Mirman festival. James says of Creaghead, “I’ve always loved her work and disposition and she’s been killing it delivering on all my demands. I’m lucky to have her. I don’t like working with a lot of people, so it’s just us internally freaking out and getting things done.”

James handpicked everyone on the festival’s line up. When asked about who she is most excited to see on the lineup, James explained, “I love Hadiyah Robinson, and I want more people to know about her; David Cross for being famous and taking very little pay; [and] Catherine Cohen is hilarious.”

Mirman said of the new festival, “I am thrilled to be part of the first annual Janelle James Comedy Festival. She’s so funny and it’s a joy to see the joke of a self-titled comedy festival live on and be reborn.”

Saturday Night Live recap: SNL avoids politics after historic midterm elections, falls flat (Videos)

Punchline Headlines - Sun, 11/11/2018 - 13:08

Saturday Night Live this week featured stoic Ukrainian bear Liev Schreiber with musical guest, Young Money Alum, Lil Wayne. When you are thinking of comedy potential, the Ray Donovan star isn’t the first name you think of, but he was funnier than you’d think on the perennial sketch show. The week was ripe with political news: the 2018 midterm elections, Acosta-Gate, wildfires in California, Trump’s trip to France, and the resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. However, this week’s SNL was surprisingly apolitical aside from Kate McKinnon’s lackluster cold open.

We broke down what worked and what didn’t work using our Katan-to-Radner star scale. A mark of the Corky Romano star means a safe time to use the bathroom. Seeing the original Not Ready For Prime Time Player means it’s worth missing the birth of your child—well, third child.

The Cold Open

It seems like every cold open focuses on politics these days. That’s not a bad thing, but it makes a weak opener more obvious since there is so much to judge it against. This was a huge week in politics, arguably the largest in years with the midterm elections getting the highest voter turnout in 50 years. It is thus strange that the show focused on Jeff Sessions leaving the White House and even stranger that it’s not that political. It is mostly just jokes about Sessions being a rodent. Kate McKinnon always shines, but she can’t save this kind of messy sketch even with her singing.

The Monologue

This monologue is a little hard to assess. It is not funny, but Schreiber warns the audience it might not be. Schreiber admits he isn’t funny, which is the funniest part. He then ends the monologue with a serious message to the American public. It’s not funny and I am not sure it is supposed to be.

Incest twins

This is one of those sketches that they have done in the past, and there is nothing new about this version of the sketch. A local news anchor miss speaks and introduces something more sexually than she meant to. It’s fine but goes nowhere new. Over 15 minutes in, we’re still waiting for something good.

Unity Song

This is a fun song. The classic premise of “we all hate the same stuff” is elevated by the level of commitment to the song. Some of the jokes fall a little flat, but overall it is silly and made me laugh—finally.

Paranormal Occurrence

I wouldn’t be mad if we never saw this sketch again. When SNL debuted the character a couple years ago, it was funny, but now it feels very tired. McKinnon always brings an amazing energy to her characters, but this one needs to be retired or shaken up. It isn’t fresh and is starting to just be gross.

Booty Song

This rap was great. It was funny, feminist and featured the Grammy-nominated Future. What more can you ask for? Both Lil Wayne and Future shine, but the true star of this video is Pete Davidson as Uncle Butt. Uncle Butt is one of those characters that is so stupid it’s brilliant. Plus, this rap has a strong positive message about consent without making consent the butt of the joke.

Weekend Update

Weekend Update had two good bits this week. Cecily Strong did an amazing impression of the White House intern that tried to take a microphone from CNN’s Jim Acosta. Pete Davidson apologized to Lt. Com. Dan Crenshaw after making fun of the veteran’s eyepatch last week on the show. This segment works, bringing the real Crenshaw on air to strengthen the bit. Other than Crenshaw being a Tea Party-endorsed candidate, my biggest gripe with the Republican Congressman’s appearance is that he also makes fun of Ariana Grande—which is unacceptable. She has been through enough; leave her alone, you monsters!

The Poddys

This might be one of the most honest takes on podcasting out there. Schreiber gets to play a character that isn’t the straight man. He even does an impression! Even though he is a little overshadowed by Strong, this whole sketch is really fun and very accurate.

House Hunters

This is just a really fun sketch. One of the writers on the show must watch a ton of HGTV because this House Hunters parody feels very on point. At the same time, this sketch pushes it so far that it feels really unhinged and funny.

Brothers

There is something very funny about the brothers in this sketch. Maybe their outfits and silly dance do most of the comedy heavy lifting, but I’m into it. Though it has me laughing, it at times feels very one-note and also has the second incest joke of this week’s show. Which is one (or two) incest jokes too many.

Outside the Women’s Bathroom

This is a sketch that you will forget all about the minute you finish watching it. It’s not bad; it’s just there.

Disagree with our rankings? Tell us in the comments.

This Liev Schreiber SNL promo video will seriously freak you out (Video)

Punchline Headlines - Fri, 11/09/2018 - 15:15

Liev Schreiber is hosting this week’s Saturday Night Live. SNL dropped a promo for the episode and, man, it is bizarre. The Ray Donovan star will be joined by rapper Lil Wayne for the fifth episode of the 44th season. This will be the usually-serious actor’s first time hosting the show.

The show released two promos. One is the standard set up for the weekly promo. Schreiber, Wayne and SNL star Kate McKinnon joke around in a cavalcade of mini set ups.

However, the other promo is one you have to watch to believe. The video shows Mikey Day, Leslie Jones, and Schreiber jumping rope on the stage. Jones and Day both make up charming and childlike rhymes as they jump. When it is Schreiber’s turn, he says he is friends with a ghost before the ghost possesses him. His eyes turn red and he speaks in a demonic voice. Finally, his head starts spinning around, horrifying his playmates. With his head on backward, his voice changes back to normal and he says, “See you guys at rehearsal.”

The video is surprisingly unsettling for the comedy show and far different from their usual promos.

Watch the video here and check back in on Sunday for our SNL recap to see how Schreiber did:

Katherine Ryan gets one of those Netflix deals

Punchline Headlines - Fri, 11/09/2018 - 14:22

Katherine Ryan, the British comedian and actress, will bring a new comedy series to Netflix called The Duchess, as well as a new hourlong stand-up comedy special.

Ryan will write and star in the new semi-autobiographical series. The first episode will be just six half-hour episodes. Netflix subscribers will see Ryan playing a fashionably disruptive single mom whose daughter, Olive, is her greatest love. Her character debates having a second child with her nemesis, Olive’s dad. Ryan will also executive produce the series alongside Dave Becky and Josh Lieberman for 3Arts, and Murray Ferguson, Petra Fried, and Ed Macdonald for Clerkenwell Films.

Ryan will also tape her new hourlong stand-up special for the streaming giant on December 11 at the Belasco Theater in Los Angeles. The special follows Ryan’s successful Glitter Room tour and unprecedented four-week run at London’s Garrick Theatre. Her jokes tend to revolve around relationships and motherhood…and a bit of Beyoncé.

The Canadian-Irish performer previously released a stand-up performance on Netflix in 2017 called Katherine Ryan: In Trouble. Many in the United Kingdom are used to seeing the Roast Battle comedian host and participate on several panel shows like Would I Lie to You?

There’s no release date for The Duchess or the special right now, but Ryan can be seen in the upcoming 10-part panel series The Fix with host Jimmy Carr on Netflix.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine locks up Season 6 NBC debut date

Punchline Headlines - Fri, 11/09/2018 - 14:17

Brooklyn Nine-Nine is coming back for a saved sixth season in 2019. The cop comedy will make its NBC debut Thursday, January 10 at 9:00 p.m. ET. The current show at that time slot, Will and Grace, will be shifting to 9:30 p.m.

The cult favorite had a rocky road to Season 6. After five seasons on Fox, the network chose to cancel the show citing low ratings. Fans of the show took to Twitter to slam the decision and, only a day later, NBC scooped up the show with a promise to produce another season for its 2019 line-up.

The show announced the January 10 date via the official Twitter.

“Ask him about the #Brooklyn99 premiere date. ASK HIM ABOUT THE #BROOKLYN99 PREMIERE DATE.” pic.twitter.com/5aWqSp4N3H

— Brooklyn Nine-Nine (@nbcbrooklyn99) November 8, 2018

This is not the first time the show announced important comeback news via Twitter. Back in September, they teased that the sixth season will have 18 episodes.

Nine + Nine = EIGHTEEN, y’all! We’re coming back with even more #Brooklyn99 on @nbc. See you soon! pic.twitter.com/7F3zKuAOHW

— Brooklyn Nine-Nine (@nbcbrooklyn99) September 7, 2018

NBC has been excited to bring the show to their network. Deadline reported back in September that Fox and NBC were both interested in the show’s pilot. Fox ultimately bought the show in the end. NBC was sad to lose Brooklyn Nine-Nine star Andy Samberg, who had called NBC his home during his nearly 8-year run on Saturday Night Live. After the show was picked up by NBC in May, chairman Bob Greenblatt expressed as much on a conference call saying, “If I knew Andy Samberg was going to be cast in that show, we probably would never have sold it to Fox. He didn’t sign on until after [we sold it to Fox], and we thought it was a missed opportunity from the beginning.”

However, the new season will be missing one crucial cast member. Comedian Chelsea Peretti announced back in October that she would not be returning for a full season of the show, but hinted at a cameo.

B99 fans. Hiiiiiiiiiiii. Chelsea Peretti, here. I won’t be doing a full season of Brooklyn Nine Nine in Season 6. But that doesn’t mean I won’t ever be back, winky face emoji, heart emoji. I want to thank you for the hours you spent watching Gina be Gina:

— Chelsea Peretti (@chelseaperetti) October 3, 2018

This is not the first time that Peretti has taken a hiatus from the show. In Season 5, she was also absent for multiple episodes when she was pregnant with her son. The show cleverly made her character pregnant and cited that the character was on maternity leave to handle her absence.

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