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Hulu cancels Sarah Silverman’s I Love You, America after just one season

Thu, 01/10/2019 - 19:51

Hulu has canceled I Love You, America after just one season. Sarah Silverman mixed monologues, interviews, and field segments on her variety show that examined not just one side of the aisle, but rather, the political divide facing our country. Silverman confirmed the bad news in a tweet on Wednesday.

“Well, Hulu canceled I LOVE YOU AMERICA and we’re all pretty damn heartbroken,” Silverman announced. “So in a traditional twitter funeral style, I’ll be RTing the love.”

The unexpected axing comes months after fellow streaming service Netflix canceled multiple talk shows. The Break with Michelle Wolf and The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale were both discontinued very early.

In I Love You, America, Silverman comedically examined current events as a way to weaken the polarization that currently exists in America. Having aired for two seasons, this was Hulu’s second attempt at a comedic talk show following Spoilers with Kevin Smith from 2012, which ran for less than two years.

Unlike typical political satire, Silverman did more than condemn Trump and the GOP—though there was plenty of that. The Wreck-it Ralph star notably used her platform to connect different ends of the political spectrum. From having dinner with strictly conservative families in the Deep South to visiting with anti-abortion activists, Silverman proved comedy can accomplish more than mere laughter receiving an Emmy nomination in 2018 for Outstanding Variety Sketch Series alongside a nomination at the Writers Guild of America Awards.

Twitter

Well, Hulu cancelled I LOVE YOU AMERICA and we’re all pretty damn heartbroken.

… So in traditional twitter funeral style, I’ll be RTing the love.

— Sarah Silverman (@SarahKSilverman) January 9, 2019

2 Dope Queens, HBO team up on four more specials

Thu, 01/10/2019 - 18:02

2 Dope Queens is coming back to HBO with four more hourlong specials hosted by Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson. Filmed at Brooklyn’s Kings Theatre, the specials are expected to present a similar mixture of interviews and stand-up comedy.

Williams and Robinson started their podcast, 2 Dope Queens, in 2015 on the WNYC podcast network. They made waves talking about music, fashion, romance, and race in a way that captivated audiences to send them to the top of the podcast charts. Since the podcast’s breakout success, a spin-off show Sooo Many White Guys debuted produced by Broad City’s Ilana Glazer and hosted by Robinson.

Last year, HBO ordered four hourlong 2 Dope Queens episodes from the duo. In their second set of specials, the titular Queens will discuss anything from subway horror stories to Billy Joel as they welcome special guests Lupita Nyong’o, Daniel Radcliffe, Janet Mock, Lizzo, and Keegan-Michael Key.

Newcomers will recognize Williams from her work on The Daily Show as a correspondent as well as her Netflix original movie The Incredible Jessica James. Most recently, Williams played Professor Eulalie “Lally” Hicks in J.K. Rowling’s latest Harry Potter film, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.

Robinson, author of New York Times bestseller You Can’t Touch My Hair and Other Things I Still Have to Explain, just finished up writing on the final season of Portlandia. The Ohio native can be seen in the upcoming remake What Men Want next month and her second book, Everything’s Trash, But It’s Okay, hits bookstores and e-readers on October 16.

2 Dope Queens returns to HBO on February 8 at 11:00 p.m. ET and will air on Fridays for four weeks straight.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel production company hit with labor union complaint

Wed, 01/09/2019 - 16:59

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel has run into a legal battle. The production company for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Picrow Streaming, has been accused by IATSE Local 52 in New York of making “coercive statements” and “changes in terms of conditions of employment” in violation of federal labor law that prohibits discriminating against employees because of their union activities. The allegations are currently under investigation by the National Labor Relations Board.

The union’s charge, obtained from the NLRB through a FOIA request, claims that over the past six months, Picrow has violated the National Labor Relations Act “by its discriminatory treatment of union shop stewards and supporters” who “made complaints to management regarding hours and other working conditions during the film production of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” Deadline reports.

A copy of the union’s charge, in which the names of a shop steward and a supervisor have been redacted, alleges that “the production team has retaliated against [name redacted] and other members of Local 52 because of this union activity. To which, [name redacted] threatened to remove Local 52 members from the film crew and threatened to never hire [name redacted] again. The production team in fact recently offered [name redacted] a position in the Season 3 production that is a demotion from…Season 2.”

Amazon Studios flatly denied the charge in a statement to Deadline. “Amazon Studios fully supports the entire team behind The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” a spokesperson said. “While we don’t comment on specific personnel matters, these allegations are demonstrably false. Amazon Studios does not tolerate any form of discrimination or retaliation.”

This is not the first time Picrow and Amazon Studios had been sued for slighting its crew. Back in 2017, Amazon Studios was charged with underpaying its parking production assistants, with a settlement of over $517,000 for not paying overtime wages, Mxdwn.com reports.

A crew member on the series, however, said “It’s a good show to work on. They treat the crew really well. We actually look forward to going back.”

Rachel Brosnahan, who plays the title role, won the Golden Globe for the second consecutive year on Sunday for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series, Musical or Comedy. It was also recently reported that Brosnahan will host the first Saturday Night Live of the new year.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is currently on hiatus, gearing up for its third season.

Teresa Lee named 2018 Martin Grant winner for ‘exceptional promise in stand-up comedy’

Wed, 01/09/2019 - 15:29

The 2018 Martin Grant for exceptional promise in stand-up comedy goes to Teresa Lee. The Martin Grant, which has now grown to $10,000, was established by Steve Hofstetter, a comedian known for his heckler takedowns, and Next Round Entertainment in order to identify and reward up-and-coming stand-up comedians. It was inspired by Hofstetter’s work and the loss of his father. 

Lee is a stand-up comedian originally from Palo Alto. After spending two years working her way up the New York comedy scene, her life was thrown into chaos in 2015 when her little brother died. Lee left everything she’d accomplished behind in New York and moved to Los Angeles.

Lee has written for Cracked, Good Mythical Morning, and IFC’s Brockmire. She’s appeared on Take My Wife, To Tell The Truth, and videos for College Humor, Cracked, Funny Or Die, and UCB Comedy. She was a semi-finalist for Stand-up NBC in 2017 and 2018 and is the creator and host of You Can Tell Me Anything, a podcast where comedians confess something to her they want to get off their chest. 

“I’m honored to be receiving the Martin Grant this year,” Lee said. “One of my goals is to be a staff writer on a scripted television show, and it’s something I’ve been working towards between day jobs and student loans. I’m fortunate to have had all the opportunities I have already had, but having the support of the grant will be like going into turbo speed towards my goal.”

The grant was named in honor of Hofstetter’s father, Martin. The grant is awarded in order to aid a talented comedian with rent, car payments, or anything else that will help them focus on developing their art. “There were so many impressive comedians who could have won this, but Teresa stood out,” Hofstetter told Laughspin. “There’s no question that she’s extremely talented on stage. But her quick rise despite the hardships she’s faced shows me that she has what it takes to succeed in comedy.”

A panel of some of the most influential television executives, comedy club owners, talent agents, and managers view applications and eventually decide on a winner. Past winners include Heather Pasternak, Wyatt Gray, and Brett Druck.

The grant is funded by Reddit.com and their store (a unique comedy tee was designed exclusively by Inkventive, and 100% of all proceeds from sales are used to fund the grant).

Jordan Peele’s Us release pushed back for SXSW premiere

Wed, 01/09/2019 - 14:11

Jordan Peele is making horror fans wait just a little bit longer for his latest buzz-worthy film Us. Universal pushed back the Us release date to March 22 after the film secured an opening night slot at SXSW on March 8. Us was originally scheduled to debut on March 15.

The later releases date will also give Us more time to generate buzz in the wake of Marvel Studios’s Captain Marvel, which is sure to sweep the box office on March 8 (and for a couple weeks afterward). The anticipation for Peele’s new film is already immense: the trailer, which dropped on Christmas, has been viewed 10.5 million times on YouTube, and 9.4 million people have seen it on Facebook.

The film stars Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke (both of Black Panther fame) as parents who are taking their two children (Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex) to the beach for a nice summer getaway. But after spending the day at the beach with friends (played by Elisabeth Moss, Tim Heidecker, Cali Sheldon, and Noelle Sheldon), the family returns to their vacation home to discover terrifying doppelgängers of themselves.

It will be difficult to compete with Peele’s last film, Get Out, which received four Oscar nominations—including best picture—and resulted in Peele winning Best Original Screenplay. On a modest budget of $4.5 million, Get Out raked in over $255 million at the box office.

Still, judging by the Us trailer, we are guaranteed one hell of a ride.

Sebastian Maniscalco is extra expressive in Netflix trailer

Wed, 01/09/2019 - 10:00

Netflix shared a trailer for Sebastian Maniscalco’s new stand-up special—and he is more expressive than ever.  Stay Hungry premieres on January 15 and Maniscalco will tackle spin classes, pregnancy photoshoots, and wedding dances.

Maniscalco has been tearing up the comedy scene for over two decades with big act outs and an old-school Italian-American flair. He addresses everyday topics with exuberance and energy that few can even dream of matching. He is a seasoned comic and a huge draw, even if his name might not always come up in the same conversation as stand-up stars like Amy Schumer and Bill Burr. Last year he reportedly made $15 million as one of the highest paid comics of 2018. He effortlessly sells out theaters and has four other hour specials to his name. 

Aren’t You Embarrassed is his only other special available on Netflix.                                                                                                                               

Maniscalco was Just for Laughs Comedian of the Year in 2016 and will appear in the upcoming Martin Scorcese movie The Irishman as Crazy Joe Gallo, which is also set to be released on Netflix later this year.

2019 is set to be a big year for the Chicago comic, but surely it will not be as big as he is. Check out Stay Hungry January 15!

If you haven’t heard, #StayHungry is hitting @netflix January 15th. Get ready! @NetflixIsAJoke pic.twitter.com/3wrwUa1Wyo

— Sebastian Maniscalco (@SebastianComedy) January 7, 2019

Amanda Seales HBO special I Be Knowin’ gets January release date

Tue, 01/08/2019 - 17:54

Insecure fans: rejoice! Amanda Seales makes her HBO stand-up debut on January 26 with her hourlong special I Be Knowin’. Seales showcases her high-energy, sharp wit, and cultural commentary in a trailer released by HBO this week.

Seales is a series regular on HBO’s Insecure, a show about navigating life in Los Angeles. She also hosts a weekly self-help podcast titled Small Doses and created a traveling game show called Smart, Funny & Black. The latter celebrates the historical and cultural contributions of Black Americans.

The new special taped in November at the historic Edison Ballroom in New York City. I Be Knowin’ is directed by stand-up special veteran Stan Lathan, the director of multiple Dave Chappelle specials. HBO seems to want only the best for their new comedy star.

HBO has not kept pace with the number of stand-up special releases from other major content providers. HBO was an early leader in bringing stand-up comedy to people’s homes for decades. Hopefully, I Be Knowin’ will lead a resurgence of comedy to the premium cable network.

I Be Knowin’ drops on HBO on January 26 at 10:00 p.m. ET.

Promo

9 hilarious queer podcasts to try this year

Tue, 01/08/2019 - 14:41

The LGBTQ community has come out of the shadows when it comes to entertainment. Many queer people are starting to tell their own stories through web series, blogs, and Instagram hashtags. And podcasts. Queer-led podcasts have been popping up in spades over the years and they’ve been absolutely fabulous. While many podcasts can be sad or inspirational, LGBTQ comedy podcasts have gained devoted followings from both queer and straight podcast lovers. Laughspin has our picks for the queer podcasts that need to be your next audio obsession in 2019.

The Read

Hosted by Kid Fury and Crissle West, the Read is a must-listen. It peaked on the iTunes comedy podcast chart at number one and has been drawing a huge number of listeners since 2013. The name comes from the Black gay slang term,’Reading,’ which is the act of calling out a flaw or insulting someone usually in a public space. In The Read, the hosts surprisingly don’t read everything they bring up. Most of their segments are uplifting or joyous especially when it comes to black culture.

Throwing Shade

Throwing Shade is more than a podcast: It is also a TV show on TVLand. The podcast dates back to 2011 while the TV show has only been around since 2017, but both feature the hilarious Erin Gibson and Bryan Safi. While the podcast is about women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, progressive politics, and pop culture, it isn’t always safe for work between the hosts’ less-than-PC comedy style and frequent adult topics.

Las  Culturistas

Bowen Yang and Matt Rogers are obsessed with culture and they want to get you in the loop. This podcast is a critical darling being named one of Esquire’s Best Podcasts of 2017 and the #1 Comedy Podcast in NYC by TimeOut New York.

Straight Talk with Ross Mathews

While Ross Mathews started on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, most members of the LGBTQ community will recognize him from his recurring role as a judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race. While the two other judges, Michelle Visage and RuPaul himself, have their own podcast What’s the Tee?, Straight Talk with Ross Mathews is much funnier. Highly recommend if you ever wished it was Ross Mathews’s Drag Race.

Transgeneral

While this Australian podcast ended in 2017, if you haven’t listened to it yet, it’s worth it. Charlotte Tortorella and Chelsey Sanderson, along with a large cast of guests, talk about the issues facing them as transwomen, but in an often hilariously honest way.

Dyking Out

Carolyn Bergier and Sarah York invite comedians, musicians, and other special guests to ‘dyke out’ with them on this weekly podcast. In each episode, they cover a specific topic that is important in the queer community.

Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness

Before Jonathan Van Ness became a human meme on Queer Eye, he started his podcast Getting Curious back in 2015. Each episode consists of a guest educating the Gay of Thrones star on a topic he is interested in. Some of the newer episodes are less informative and more just an excuse to have a celebrity like Reese Witherspoon or Justin Theroux on the podcast, but the majority of episodes have professors and experts, especially in politics and science.

Here for It

While often not safe for work, Here for It covers a wide range of health and wellness topics that matter to the LGBTQ community. Blogger Ronald Matters and sex specialist Supaman, keep talking about wellness upbeat and fun. While it might be billed as a health podcast, the hosts stretch that to talk about celebrity news, TV, and anything else that is on their minds.

Dumb, Gay Politics

Comedian Julie Goldman and model/actress Brandy Howard want to help you understand politics. On their show Dumb, Gay Politics, they make politics funny and easily digestible from a queer perspective. The two have worked together on TV and in writers’ rooms for years and their amazing chemistry on the podcast shows it.

Kevin Hart apologizes (again) on SiriusXM show (Videos)

Mon, 01/07/2019 - 23:30

Kevin Hart makes what will hopefully be the final commentary we hear about what…well, you all know. The comedian made another apology Monday night on his SiriusXM radio show Straight from The Hart following his appearance on Ellen. The show aired on Kevin Hart’s Laugh Out Loud Radio channel 96.

“I will say this, and I want to make this very clear. And I’m going to say it just in case you guys try to take this sh*t and chop it up, I will rebuttal with this f*cking piece right here,” said Hart. “Once again, Kevin Hart apologizes for his remarks that hurt members of the LGBTQ community. I apologize.”

The stand-up superstar, who has been in the doghouse (which he could probably physically fit in quite neatly) for homophobic tweets from 2009-10. All those who want him to roll over, however, will have to wait a little longer. He continued his show by addressing how previous apologies have been received, or, not received.

“But then they go, ‘But you didn’t say it right,'” Hart said. “Saying ‘I’m sorry,’ you didn’t say, ‘Sorry, sorry, sorry.’ But no, wait, guys, I just said ‘I’m sorry.’ ‘Not the way you should have!’ What does that mean?”

The controversy began on December 5, when Benjamin Lee, an editor for The Guardian, tweeted screenshots of old tweets. It led to Hart stepping down from his gig of hosting next month’s Academy Awards, after he initially refused their insistence that he apologize for the comments.

In an Instagram post, Hart cited the fact that he had dealt with the controversy in the past and felt as if he had adequately addressed it.

However his most recent comments are received, Hart seems confident in his growth. “You’re now trying to change me into becoming what version of me you want me to be,” he said. “I don’t think it’s wrong for people to have their own personal beliefs. I think that in the times that we’re living in, we have to be understanding and accepting of people and change. Bottom line.”

It will be interesting to see how this latest apology is received, and whether or not people ‘chop it up.’

100 sets in 100 days: Stand-up comedian invites peers for public challenge

Mon, 01/07/2019 - 13:35

New Year’s resolutions amongst comedians are coming with some public accountability. A bunch of stand-up comedians are challenging themselves to do 100 sets in 100 days—and no, improv doesn’t count. Chicago-based stand-up Brianna Murphy shared a public Google Doc on her Facebook profile January 1 challenging comedians to track their sets for the next 100 days—open mics, club spots, bar shows, and that fabled laundromat gig.

New Year’s resolutions are all the rage and many of us never complete them after collecting 127 likes on a grandiose Facebook announcement. Public accountability is a great motivator to keep going. “I figured after the holidays, what better way to start the new year off!” said Murphy. The doc already has 57 comedians signed up as of this writing.

 “I didn’t come up with the challenge. I actually am just piggybacking off of a challenge that Emily Winter did last summer,” Murphy explains. “She did a 50 sets in 50 days challenge and, at the end of it, a lot of us joked about extending it 50 more days…I wouldn’t have done it without her lead. I think she also did it in conjunction with another challenge she had last year to get 100 rejections. She’s amazing and we are all just following in her footsteps!”

Winter explained that the impetus for the challenge was a conversation between her and fellow comedian Patrick Hastie, who started the challenge with her. “Patrick Hastie came up with [the idea]…Patrick and I are good friends and we talk a lot about how to stay motivated in comedy,” Winter told Laughspin.

The challenge started as a small private group of about 20 comedians close to Winter and Hastie. In the private group, about half of the comedians finished the challenge. Last summer, Winter organized a public challenge. This time they opened it to the public and over 60 comedians rose to the challenge with 13 finishing. LA-based comedian Ian Russo clocked in with the most sets with 152.

Hastie himself started it as a competition between him and friend Gideon Hambright. “[We] started the current rash of these back in 2014,” Hastie says. “We’d do them, just the two of us. And then I did a 50 in 50 in 2015 and 2016. Then 2017 we opened it up to close friends.”

Murphy wants to make this year’s challenge even bigger. “[There’s] more people every day. I tried to share it with a lot of different comedy scene Facebook groups, even one in London, to get as many people all over involved,” she says.

The challenge can seem daunting but Murphy wants to make sure it is fun and a way for comedians to grow and stay accountable to their goals more than anything else. “My tip for comics trying to hit 100 is to do your best. It’s just a fun challenge. Try not to go nuts. We are all going to die one day and this challenge is not what you will remember when your life flashes before your eyes,” she jokes.

She continues, “The hardest part of this challenge is nothing because it’s easy and we should all be getting 100 sets in every day! Ha! Truly it can just be scheduling or pushing for that extra set even though you know you open at your day job the next day. I think having an end date helps you push harder. Truly this is just a fun tool for motivation and will maybe ignite the feeling of competition within some of us that helps us overcome the winter depression that’s squeezing us around the neck.”

Are you a comedian who wants to challenge themselves? It’s not too late to start! You can sign up here.

Golden Globes: Andy Samberg, Sandra Oh toast instead of roast during opening monologue

Mon, 01/07/2019 - 11:14

This year’s Golden Globes monologue by hosts Andy Samberg and Sandra Oh tried it’s best to be woke. Between niceties and socially aware jokes, the monologue seemed made to accompany the diversity of the nominees later in the night.

The monologue started with a bevy of roast jokes reminiscent of previous hosts like Ricky Gervais, but Oh and Samberg decided to only do nice roasts like, “Michael B. Jordan? More like Michael be buff AF — you a snack, Michael!” or, “Hey, Bradley Cooper — you’re hot.” But the hosts then went on to more conventional monologue jokes.

Later in the monologue, Bay Area Native Samberg turned his attention to Oakland-born director Ryan Coogler to say, “If you told me as a kid growing up in the Bay that there was a movie called ‘Black Panther’ that starts off in Oakland, this is not what I would have imagined,” Samberg went on. “Ryan, were there a bunch of old members of the actual Black Panther Party saying, ‘I can’t even get an audition?’ Just kidding they were all framed and murdered for wanting justice and equality. The world is and always has been a nightmare. It just seems worse now because of our phones.”

Oh later joked about Crazy Rich Asians saying, “the first studio film with an Asian-American lead since Ghost In the Shell and Aloha.” A voice from the audience interrupted this joke to say, “I’m sorry.” While the video doesn’t pan to the voice, it is possibly Emma Stone who played a part-Asian character in the box office dud Aloha. Oh wasn’t done talking about Crazy Rich Asians. She sent over Saturday Night Live writer Bowen Yang with a giant pillbox of antacid to protect the table from “Asian glow.”

After a bit with Jim Carrey, the monologue ended on a serious note on the importance of inclusion.

Watch the full video below.

Golden Globes: Jeff Bridges confused everyone with that acceptance speech, right?

Mon, 01/07/2019 - 10:44

At Sunday night’s Golden Globes, Jeff Bridges accepted the prestigious Cecile B. Demille Award. While speeches for lifetime achievement awards are usually fairly planned out in advance, Bridges seemed to go a different route with his. After an inspirational montage of his decades-long career—narrated by Sam Elliot reprising his role as the Stanger from The Big Lebowski—the True Grit star took the stage to deliver one of the most confusing speeches of the night.

It started like most speeches, thanking his family and colleagues. Bridges said, “If I’m lucky, I’ll be associated with The Dude for the rest of my life, and I feel so honored to be a part of that movie.” But his speech quickly took a turn when he started telling an anecdote about the game tag (“We are all ‘it,’ man.”) and Buckminster Fuller, an architect and inventor of the geodesic dome.

“I like to think of myself as a trim tab and all of us are trim tabs. It may seem that we’re not up to the take, but we are, man.” he said during the speech. “We’re alive. We can make a difference. We can turn this ship in the way we want to go, man! Towards love, to creating a healthy planet for all of us.”

He ended the speech by saying, “You’re all trim tabs! Tag, you’re it!”

Pans to the audience showed several reactions to the speech. By the end, even presenter and Hell or High Water co-star Chris Pine couldn’t keep it together and had to crack a smile and even maybe a laugh.

Find someone who looks at you the way Chris Pine is looking at Jeff Bridges doing his Golden Globes speech. pic.twitter.com/2yRrxIY3Bd

— Frank Pallotta (@frankpallotta) January 7, 2019

Bridges joins an esteemed group of DeMille honorees including Oprah Winfrey, George Clooney, Jodie Foster, Meryl Streep, Denzel Washington and more.

You can watch the full speech below.

Deadline: Kevin Hart will not host the Oscars; Academy secretly tapping multiple pseudo-hosts

Sat, 01/05/2019 - 20:36

Kevin Hart will not host the Oscars this year—that’s the final answer according to a Saturday night Deadline report. Speculation swirled that Hart would reclaim the prestigious hosting gig following a surprise appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show Friday.

Ellen DeGeneres revealed during the interview that she spoke to the Academy and that they would love for him to still host. It’s worth noting that the ceremony’s producers have yet to find a replacement emcee since Hart stepped down last month. The Jumanji star appeared to consider the possibility saying, “Let me assess—just to sit in the space and really think.”

It appears the thinking is over according to multiple sources at Deadline. Writer Mike Fleming Jr. acknowledges Hart could possibly change his mind, however it appears unlikely. According to the report, the stand-up mogul felt he would be a distraction from the celebratory affair and take the spotlight off of the nominees. He’s also concerned at how little time he would have to prepare a quality show.

Though Hart seemed sincere discussing his personal growth and maturity, the interview garnered mixed reviews. Since his appearance on Ellen, media outlets have been ripe with opinion pieces attacking DeGeneres, attacking Hart, praising her intervention, or claiming satisfaction with his change of heart. One of the most notable reactions came from CNN’s Don Lemon who made his opinion on allyship well known.

What’s notable about the Deadline report is their claim about the producers’ back-up plan. Apparently “the Academy has been quietly lining up stars to help out and will continue on that route.” The annual awards show has not been without a host since the 61st Academy Awards in 1989. A cluster of pseudo-hosts will surely have a different feel than the consistent vibe of one (or two) emcees. Whatever is to be done, the Oscars are on February 24. Whoever the host(s) may be, he or she needs to get the gig and get moving. And get some Kevin Hart jokes.

Matt Braunger is Finally Live in Portland in new stand-up special

Sat, 01/05/2019 - 12:45

Matt Braunger wants you to wonder: Can an idiot also be a comic genius? Braunger’s new hour-long stand-up special Finally Live in Portland will hopefully answer the question for you on February 5.

The MADtv star puts out his third comedy special, recorded in a former porno theatre called The Paris. It’s the Portland thing to do. Finally Live in Portland is talking about naked old men, drunk Nazis, anal surgery, and the Girl Scouts. It’s exactly what you want to talk about in front of everyone you grew up with.

“This is my best special yet, and I got to shoot it in my hometown in front of my parents and embarrass them as a bonus,” Braunger said in a press release. The special “basically represents two things, 1) 18 years of me doing comedy, and 2) How much I haven’t grown in that time.”

Finally Live in Portland is being released by Comedy Dynamics, a major player in the stand-up special scene. You’ll recognize the name on all of those old-school comedy specials popping up on major streaming services. Recently, they brought throwback specials from Bill Hicks and Sam Kinison to Netflix.

Braunger’s newest special comes out on February 5 on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Prime, Microsoft, Steam, and Vimeo.

Colin Quinn: Red State Blue State will tackle liberals and conservatives in New York debut

Fri, 01/04/2019 - 18:40

Colin Quinn is going to solve the political divide in this country in his new one-man show Red State Blue State. Well, he’s going to try.

The Tough Crowd comedian will expose “the absurdities, hypocrisies, and calamities on both sides of the political divide,” according to a press release. This is no ‘witch hunt’ =cough, Donald=. Quinn “is here to own the libs, the conservs, and all of you in between.”

The son of two teachers, Quinn is used to schooling audiences ever since his hit Broadway show Long Story Short gave a comedic history lesson of the world to HBO audiences nationwide. In Unconstitutional, he focused on the Founding Father’s and the four-page document on which this country was created. Jerry Seinfeld directed the Brooklyn native’s more recent show The New York Story, teaching audiences about the 400-plus-year history of his home city. Both Unconstitutional and The New York Story are available to stream on Netflix.

Previews begin at the Minetta Lane Theater on January 5 and the official opening is scheduled for January 22. Quinn is offering a 30 Under 30 deal: $30 tickets for select performances for people 30-years-old or younger. The deal is available in person at the box office with valid ID.

Older or younger than 30, fans can get tickets for Colin Quinn: Red State Blue State online at www.ColinQuinnShow.com or by calling TicketMaster at 1-800-745-3000.

Friends From College gets awkward in Season 2 trailer (Video)

Fri, 01/04/2019 - 14:27

Friends from College is coming back for its second season January 11 and Netflix has released a new trailer for the show.

In the first season of the Netflix original series, a group of friends from Harvard now in their early 40s must navigate the difficulties of adult life. When an affair between two members of the clique is exposed, it throws the friend group into chaos.

While the first season garnered a slew of less-than-favorable reviews, the show features an impressive cast including Keegan-Michael Key, Cobie Smulders, Billy Eichner, Nat Faxon, and Fred Savage. The trailer features more from Eichner who was a recurring guest in the first season and whose performance was a bright spot for many critics of the show.

The second season will jump forward one year after the events of the first season and will revolve around the friend group being forced to spend time together in the lead up to Max (Savage) and Felix’s (Eichner) wedding. From the trailer, the new season starts with no one hearing from Key’s estranged wife Lisa (Smulders) until she reappears at an engagement party.

The show is based on the events from the real lives of showrunners Nicholas Stoller and his wife Francesca Delbanco. Stoller had a successful 2018 after selling four different new comedy TV shows to CBS, ABC, and Fox.

The trailer also teases the addition of Sarah Chalke who will be joining the cast as a recurring guest star.

You can watch the full trailer below.

CBS announces Diversity Sketch Comedy Showcase participants

Fri, 01/04/2019 - 13:18

CBS announced the 21 participants they have selected for their annual CBS Diversity Sketch Comedy Showcase. The performers will appear in six shows beginning January 15 at the El Portal Theatre in Los Angeles.

The showcase has been a way for emerging talent to be seen by executives, showrunners and casting directors from CBS and other networks for over a decade. While the showcase has strived to highlight underrepresented groups, it has been called out for having issues of racism and sexism in the past. The former director, Rick Najera, also had to step down over harassment allegations in 2017.

This year the showcase will be directed by Stephen Guarino with assistant director Tess Paras. Sheila Carrasco will act as head writer with a first writers’ room of 11 former showcase participants.

Participants in last year’s showcase went on to roles on shows like Criminal Minds, NCIS, Life in Pieces, Hawaii 5-0, American Vandal, Charmed and Jane the Virgin. To date, 397 actors have appeared in the showcase, including notable alums like Kate McKinnon and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s Eugene Codero.

This year’s 21 participants are Alex Ellis, Andy Bustillos, Anna Rajo, Carolina Montenegro, Chris Renfro, Dan Lee, DJ Pryor, Emily Fightmaster, Filip Jeremic, Fray Forde, Katy Fullan, Lou Gonzalez, Marc-Sully Saint-Fleur, Mike Millan, Nikki Mckenzie, Rashawn Nadine Scott, Rasheda S. Crockett, Shukri R. Abdi, Tien Tran, Waleed Mansour, and Yasmin Kassim.

Ellen DeGeneres: Kevin Hart should host the Oscars (Video)

Fri, 01/04/2019 - 12:22

Kevin Hart will appear on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Friday and it seems he has the endorsement of the daytime talk show host. This will be his first major TV appearance since his withdrawal last month from hosting the Oscars.

The Night School comedian was pushed to give up the hosting dream job after old homophobic tweets resurfaced hours after the Academy tapped their new emcee. The producers of the award ceremony wanted him to apologize or give up the gig. Hart opted to let the job go before curiously apologizing just as he was asked.

Ellen DeGeneres, who has hosted the Oscars twice, appears to be on Team Kevin. “I called the Academy today because I really want you to host the Oscars,” she said on the segment. Having one of the biggest openly gay comedians behind you will surely be a boost to the comedy mogul who recently completed a successful international stand-up tour.

Hart appears to still want the job and to have sincerely owned up to his growth. “I’ve yet to go back to that version of the immature comedian I once was,” he said. “I’ve moved on. I’m a grown man. I’m cultured. I’m a guy who understands now.”

It was previously reported that the interview would air on Monday, but DeGeneres tweeted today confirming it would air sooner than that. She also said, “I believe in forgiveness. I believe in second chances. And I believe in @KevinHart4Real.”

I believe in forgiveness. I believe in second chances. And I believe in @KevinHart4real. pic.twitter.com/oJxfGXhU4P

— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) January 4, 2019

The interview comes as his drama The Upside hits theaters nationwide January 11. It’s worth noting that the Ellen crew blocked out the entire hour for Hart.

The Academy has yet to find a replacement to host the ceremony and rumors have swirled that they may consider multiple hosts or no host at all. Many, including us here at Laughspin, have suggested list after list of qualified candidates. Though speculating, it’s possible they’ve intended to invite him back all along once the initial outrage subsided.

DeGeneres claimed that the Academy is hoping the debacle was all just a misunderstanding. “We want him to host. Whatever we can do, we would be thrilled.” We will wait and see if the Oscars producers invite him back for what could be an acknowledgment that humans err and people can change and that 10-year-old tweets don’t always represent a person today.

However, after all of the drama and pain, would he even take the job if offered again? “I promise you I’m evaluating this conversation. It’s a conversation I needed to have,” Hart said. “Let me asses—just to sit in the space and really think. You and I will talk before anything else.”

Comedians of the World: Navigating each region of Netflix’s global stand-up event

Fri, 01/04/2019 - 11:19

Netflix just dropped over 20 hours of stand-up with their new global comedy event Comedians of the World. The event may be some Americans’ first experience of stand-up comedy from other countries but in different languages. The series showcases half-hour sets from 47 different comedians in 13 different regions in 8 different languages. With almost a full day’s worth of content, Comedians of the World can feel daunting, but Laughspin is here to break it down to find the right region for you.

The U.S.

The US section of the program is similar to any other American-produced series of half-hour specials, though it features veteran headliner comedians. Neal Brennan, Chris D’Elia, Nick Swardson, and Nicole Byer all perform new material you should not miss! No subtitles needed for these acts.

Canada

The interesting thing about the Canadian section of the show is that Netflix breaks it into two sections: an English collection and a French collection. No comedians overlap between the two sections and the stages show that the shows happened at two different locations.

The U.K.

Most Americans will have seen stand-up from the U.K. before. From Eddie Izzard to Ricky Gervais, stand-up from across the pond has made it to American audiences for decades. Strangely enough, one of the U.K. comics is Mae Martin, a Canadian actor and comedian living in Europe. The choice to include a Canadian in the U.K. section and not the Canadian section shows that Netflix wants to show the comedy scene in the regions rather than the nationality of the comedians.

Australia and New Zealand

Australia has been a hot spot for comedy since the 1980s with the rise of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Melbourne is now the third largest international comedy festival in the world. The section features the Melbourne-based  Joel Creasey and Nazeem Hussain, New Zealander Cal Wilson, and the Auckland-based Urzila Carlson. Carlson shows that Netflix is interested in showcasing comedy scenes rather than repping nationalities. The comic is originally from South Africa.

South Africa

The last of the English-speaking sections of the show, most of the comedians talk about the racial makeup of South Africa through jokes about race, white privilege, and regional dialects. Oddly enough, the sets were filmed in North America. While Netflix doesn’t disclose where the majority of the sets were filmed, they note that this is Tumi Morake’s “first North American performance.”

India

While two of the three comedians tell jokes in English, Amit Tandon is the first comic in the series to do a complete set in another language. Even though his special is in Hindi, it is not difficult to watch if you do not speak it. His cadence, if nothing else, punctuates where his jokes end especially because most of his comedy is very relatable and about being a dad.

Mexico

Spanish comedy is nothing new. There is a long history of groundbreaking comedy programming in Spanish. Comedy Central Latinoamérica has been presenting Comedy Central Stand-Up Mexico for five seasons, a show where Franco Escamilla, Gaby Llanas, and Hugo El Cojo Feliz have already been featured on before their Comedians of the World sets.

Germany

Germany and comedy are not words that Americans often use together, but the Germany section of the series will convince you otherwise. The first set from Iranian-German comedian Enissa Amani has a meta moment about her nervousness representing German comedy and her past Netflix special being watched in other countries, which feels exactly right in a series that props up three to four comedians to represent whole regions.

Brazil

In 2011, The Guardian published an article with the headline, “Brazil’s stand-up comics lead social revolution against powerful elites.” Eight years later, the comedians in this section have brought a far more relatable set of jokes. From jokes about Uber to pharmacy shopping, Americans will relate to much of the humor. The only difficult thing to understand in this section is how fast one comic, Alfonso Padhila, talks. Don’t worry: that’s what subtitles are for.

France

Filmed in Canada, the France section is notable for picking very diverse comedians to represent the region. Muslim comic Jason Brokerrs and Shirley Souagnon, whose family is originally from the Ivory Coast, as well as the rest of the France region, show an amazing cross-section of the different ethnicities that make up the country. The comedians shine even though they must deal with the slight divide between the audience’s Canadian French and their native French for France.

The Middle East

This is the first section that represents a full region rather than one or two nations. Two of the comedians are from Saudi Arabia—Ibraheem Alkhairallah and Moayad Alnefaie—while Adi Khalefa is from Palestine and Rawsan Hallak is from Jordan. The multiple countries represented gives a larger view of the region than some of the more country-specific sections. With Netflix recently pulling an episode for their show Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj at the behest of the Saudi Arabian government, if a similar request will come for Alkhairallah and Alnefaie’s sets.

The Netherlands

Having four European regions covered (while, for example, not showcasing a single East Asian comedy scene) might feel like overkill, but the Netherlands proves to have its own unique voice. The comedians from this scene showcase an amazing amount of energy. Soundos El Ahmadi, Martijn Koning, and Rayen Panday serve as a nice introduction to the region.

Emily Heller, NBC team up to form Secret Society

Thu, 01/03/2019 - 11:21

NBC is developing a secret society—and comedian Emily Heller is its leader. NBC called dibs on Secret Society from Heller, as well as fellow executive producers Kay Cannon and Laverne McKinnon.

Written by Heller, Secret Society centers on Beth, a struggling reporter who is tired of feeling invisible in her small town and recruits other women to help take over a dying branch of an all-male secret society.

Heller, whose stand-up album Pasta dropped last year, is currently a producer on HBO’s surprise hit Barry. She’s also written on People of Earth and Crowded.

Cannon is the creator of Girlboss and made her directorial debut with Blockers last year. McKinnon, a Girlboss executive producer, is one half of K&L Productions with Cannon.

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