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10 times Bill Cosby was creepy af

Tue, 10/09/2018 - 10:30

Many Bill Cosby fans were shocked when the legendary comedian was accused of sexually assaulting numerous women. But maybe we shouldn’t have been so surprised. After all, Cosby, who was recently found guilty of aggravated indecent assault and sentenced to up to 10 years in prison, has a history of bizarre and downright creepy behavior. Here are 10 times that Bill Cosby was a total creep:

1. His advice to George Lopez

During an interview with Howard Stern back in 2016, Lopez recalled a conversation he had with Cosby after taking over as host of Playboy Jazz Festival several years earlier. According to Lopez, Cosby gave him some weird tips about dealing with the opposite sex. “He says, you know, like, ‘If you meet a lady, man, put her in the audience. Don’t bring her backstage,'” Lopez said. “If you want to get blown, keep her out there … None of it had anything to do with jazz, by the way.”

2. His conversation with Kenan Thompson

George Lopez isn’t the only comedian who has recently come forward with a weird Bill Cosby story.  New Emmy-winner Kenan Thompson revealed in 2015 that Cosby also gave him some bizarre advice when they worked together on the Fat Albert movie. “There are little indicators of things that happen that you just go, ‘Hmmm, that was a little different,'” Thompson told Late Night with Seth Meyers. “And one of them was this story that he told me, where he was like, ‘You know, life is good in the movies or whatever, but you just be ready, because when this movie comes out, you’re going to need two dicks because women are going to be all over you.'”

It’s no wonder Thompson called Cosby a “monster” during a stand-up set that same year.

3. His books

Bill Cosby wrote three books in the late 1980s, and they are chock-full of examples of his dirty mind. Just take this passage from Love and Marriage, where he described how he preyed on women back in high school: “It was in those basements that I tried to squeeze girls as if they were melons to see which ones might be ripe for going steady with me. Sometimes I managed to lure one of them outside to sit with me in a car for a little kissing and rubbing; most of the other girls I managed to lure away from the crowd just sat there like statues, hoping that this moment would pass and they could get on with their lives. “

Or this excerpt from Fatherhood: “A father… knows exactly what those boys at the mall have in their depraved little minds because he once owned such a depraved little mind himself. In fact, if he thinks enough about the plans that he used to have for young girls, the father not only will support his wife in keeping their daughter home, but he might even run over to the mall and have a few of those boys arrested.“

4. His anti-prejudice special

Back in the 1970s, Cosby starred in a TV special where he played the ultimate bigot. The satirical program was designed to teach viewers about prejudice. But it also revealed Cosby’s disturbing views of women. Toward the end of the routine, he stated, “They’re not pieces of flesh, but if I want to take one out, I’ll take her out. I buy the dinner—she didn’t pay for it. I expect something in return!” He even said that women are not as strong as men and that women are only supposed to “have babies” and “wash dishes.” While Cosby was ostensibly in character at the time, he may have been expressing his true views through the guise of comedy.

5. His interview with Sofia Vergara

Fans got to see Bill Cosby’s creepy antics for themselves when he filled in on The Late Show back in 2003. Cosby interviewed Sofia Vergara and spent the entire conversation ogling over the actress. “Men look at you, and they only think of sin,” he told an uncomfortable Vergara. “… Now what you have on tonight is wonderful. This is wonderful. And when you walked out, many, uh, many people became attentive.”

6. His weird rider

While visiting The Late Show, Cosby had a truly odd request. He reportedly wanted some of the young female staffers to stare at him. “He’d include as a request, before he arrived, that the young girls, interns, and assistants, all had to gather around in the green room backstage and sit down and watch him eat curry,” a source told NY Daily News. “No one would say anything, and he would sit silently eating and make us watch and want us to watch.”

7. His joke about a special barbecue sauce

During one episode of The Cosby Show, the comedian joked about a special barbecue sauce he makes that causes women to become “huggy buggy.” Sure enough, daughters are all over their significant others after having it. Cosby’s character then attempts to seduce his wife (played by Phylicia Rashad) by saying he has a cup of the sauce waiting for her upstairs. While this just seemed like an innocent joke at the time, it’s hard to watch this scene without thinking about the reports of Cosby drugging his victims.

8. His Spanish Fly “joke”

This wasn’t even the first time that Bill Cosby joked about drugging women. In 1969, he released a comedy LP called It’s True! It’s True! that featured a bit about Spanish Fly. Cosby “joked” about using the aphrodisiac to drug and lure women. “Spanish Fly is groovy,” he said. “Yeah boy. From then on, man, any time you see a girl: Wish you had some Spanish Fly boy. Go to a party, see five girls standing alone—boy, if I had a whole jug of Spanish Fly I’d light that corner up over there.” The only thing worse than the joke itself is hearing the audience members laughing in the background.

9. His thoughts on birth control

Yet another standup routine that predicted some of Cosby’s predatory ways came on his comedy album Those of You with or Without Children, You’ll Understand. During that record, he stated why he didn’t think he had to talk to his son about birth control. “It’s the female’s job to protect herself,” he said. “It’s like a goalie… you have to keep people from scoring on you.” Men continue to use similar explanations to justify rape.

10. His “gift” for a female journalist

Reporter Dana Kennedy did a story on Bill Cosby back in the early 1990s. And while she maintains that Cosby never tried to seduce her, she did notice his creepy tendencies throughout the interview. At one point, he told her, “Tell me what you want to ask and we’ll see how it goes. If it doesn’t go well, I’ll give you a piece of fruit. I’ll give you an apple or pear and you can be on your way.”

Sure enough, within days of the story being published, Cosby mailed Kennedy a dying apple.

BAFTA: Jim Carrey is excellent at comedy

Tue, 10/09/2018 - 10:00

Jim Carrey will be honored at the 2018 BAFTA Britannia Awards later this month. Carrey will receive the Charlie Chaplin Britannia Award for excellence in comedy. Also being honored is Emilia Clarke of Game of Thrones for British artist of the year. “Jim and Emilia are without question two incredibly inspiring and remarkable talents and we are delighted to be honoring them at this year’s ceremony,” said BAFTA Los Angeles chairman Kieran Bree in a statement. “Jim is a legend in this industry, bringing joy and laughter to audiences around the world through his unique award-winning performances.”

Not coincidentally at all I’m sure, Carrey currently stars in the new Showtime series Kidding where he plays a Mr. Rogers type. He’s been in the news recently after calling President Trump a ‘traitor” on Saturday at The New Yorker Festival. Speaking about the recent confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, “Today is not the end of the world. That is tentatively scheduled for November. But you can do something to change it!”

If you feel like you haven’t seen Jim Carrey in a movie in a while, you’re right. Since 2014’s Dumb and Dumber sequel, he’s only been in a couple of indie movies. He’s been passing the time creating political art, in case you didn’t already think he could do it all (follow him on Twitter to peruse his work). A recent piece of Dr. Christine Ford at her Senate Judiciary Committee testimony encourages, “Avenge her in November. vote.gov”.

Real American heroism. Dr. Ford risked everything to tell the truth about this privileged Kavanaugh goon. Avenge her in November. https://t.co/NrLGWEXcRi pic.twitter.com/lSPtmVUH4I

— Jim Carrey (@JimCarrey) October 6, 2018

Up next for Carrey is voicing Dr. Robotnik in the upcoming Sonic the Hedgehog movie. He’ll be presented with his British trophy on Oct. 26 at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

Can Nick Cannon late night show launch New Fox?

Tue, 10/09/2018 - 09:00

Nick Cannon is getting a late night TV show on Fox (well, New Fox). The Wild ’N Out creator/host signed a deal with the broadcast network for a weekly topical late-night series that includes a development deal for Fox’s digital team. The yet-to-be-titled project will feature high-profile celebrity interviews, music performances, and stand-up comics with host Cannon covering the latest in pop culture. He will also executive produce.

Fox, the baby brother of the broadcast channels, is the only network without a consistent late night program. Since its creation in 1986, it has tried to find its champion to join the ranks of Late Show and The Tonight Show by developing programs around Chevy Chase (1993), Arsenio Hall (1989-94, then again in 2013), Joan Rivers (1986-87), and Wanda Sykes (2009-10). None had the staying power that could survive interchanging hosts like the programs on NBC, CBS, Comedy Central, and ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! The Arsenio Hall Show probably had the most culturally impactful moment with a saxophone performance by then-presidential candidate Bill Clinton. Their existences have escaped the cultural consciousness. None of this is stopping Fox from entering yet another competitor in the crowded late night landscape (fellow late night TV nerds should check out Bill Carter’s books for more on the subject).

Cannon has the broad appeal that a late night host requires to reach both coastal comedy connoisseurs and flyover country comedy fans. He’s already served this role hosting various award shows, America’s Got Talent, and the upcoming celebrity competition series The Masked Singer on Fox, which he will also co-executive produce. It will be difficult breaking into late night, commonly seen as the time slots between 10:00 pm-2:00 am EST, with a new show. Networks get anxious enough relaunching a program with a new host (remember all those annoying James Corden promos?). TBS has been successful cutting through the pack with the Samantha Bee-led rage-fueled Full Frontal. HBO pulled it off when it snagged John Oliver for Last Week Tonight. Both are also weeklies on cable networks with smaller and younger audiences. Cannon, at 38-years old, would be the youngest host attempting to create that crucial viral video that dominates the day’s conversation. With one chance per week to get people talking about you, he faces even more pressure show-to-show.

Not much else is known about the new late night series or when it will air. But at least we know it’s not going to be hosted by another straight white guy.

Laughspin is back for all your comedy needs

Mon, 10/08/2018 - 16:40
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Its been a little while – 1,160 days, at the time of this writing, in fact – since I wrote a post titled “What’s Happening with Laughspin?” It served as a note to Laughspin’s dedicated readership about the possible end of a decade-old passion project. I call it a passion project not to minimize its former influence or the impact it had on the world of comedy but to better explain I wasn’t walking away from some Chappellian $50 million deal.

At the time I announced Laughspin’s hiatus I feel I had pushed as long and as hard as I could for the success of a site I created. It was time for a break. It was time to regroup. I felt then, as I feel now that Laughspin, with added infrastructure and a proper business push behind it, could reach millions instead of hundreds of thousands.

Laughspin is now officially out of hibernation.

I’ve sold the site to a lovely digital content outfit called Sea of Reeds Media, founded by former New York Observer editor, bestselling author and perhaps, most important, total comedy nerd Ken Kurson.

I am no longer Editor in Chief of Laughspin, though I’ll be very much involved as editor emeritus. I’ll still be looking after and nurturing the site. And I’ll be writing pieces a few times a month. The new day-to-day editor is Billy Procida, who is not at all new to Laughspin.

During the last few years of Laughspin’s existence pre-hiatus, Billy was my second-in-command. He’s in a unique position to helm the site as a comic in New York who has also proven himself a skilled comedy writer and analyst. Early in my negotiations with Ken I told him I wanted Billy to run the site. It didn’t take much convincing for Ken to see that was the best-case scenario for a re-launched Laughspin.

So, here we are.

I have renewed hope in Laughspin and where it’s headed. There will be obstacles and low points, I’m sure. But the high points, I’m willing to bet, will peek out above all other highs that have come before. I’m confident our original readership will embrace Laughspin again. And I’m certain we’ll find hundreds of thousands millions of new friends online.

For now, that’s all. I’m here if you want to chat.

-dylan
dylan@laughspin.com

Katt Williams arrested for assault…again

Mon, 10/08/2018 - 13:05
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Comedian Katt Williams can’t catch a break. Williams was arrested Saturday for allegedly assaulting a Town Car driver in Portland, Oregon. The alleged incident happened during an argument about taking him and his dog from Portland International Airport to a performance in the city. In addition to his fourth-degree assault charge, the recent Emmy winner was arrested for an out-of-state warrant from Georgia.

Williams, whose real name is Micah Williams, was in Portland for Nick Cannon’s Wild ’N Out national tour. After the incident, he left in another vehicle before being arrested Saturday. The driver was treated at a hospital with swelling and cuts on his face.

The prolific stand-up has had a hard time staying out of jail, having been arrested over a dozen times since 2006—four of those arrests came in 2016. Many of those arrests have been for assault. The Pimpin’ comedian was on probation in Los Angeles after pleading no contest to stealing a paparazzi’s camera with rap mogul Suge Night. He also (yes also) was given five years probation in 2016 by a Georgia court for—you guessed it—assault and battery. Last year he was ordered by the court to take anger management classes.

Katt Williams, whose most recent special Great America is out on Netflix, is one of the most consistently solid stand-ups working. Unfortunately, he seems to be riddled in controversy with the legal system and his mental health more often than he releases a new special. Back in 2012, he tearfully announced his retirement from comedy, only to have his rep deny the announcement days later. Even Snoop Dogg once told TMZ, “Katt needs some help man. Somebody needs to really sit him down and get him some help…whoever really got love for Katt that’s around him, you need to take him and go get him some help.” Six years later, the man still struggles to stay out of cuffs and the news. Or maybe the controversy is part of the brand, like a black Andy Kauffman getting in trouble for the sake of a lifelong character.

Dan Harmon’s HarmonQuest renewed for third season

Mon, 10/08/2018 - 11:52
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Dan Harmon has created a new community of sorts with his improv comedy series HarmonQuest— so much so that the animated live-action sitcom was greenlit for a third season. Production will begin Fall 2018 in Los Angeles with stars Harmon, Spencer Crittenden, Erin McGathy and Jeff B. Davis all set on returning. New episodes will then air on the popular streaming service VRV in 2019.

“I think I speak for everyone involved when I say we can’t wait to show you what we’re working on,” said Crittenden in a press release.

HarmonQuest follows the titular showrunner as he plays the Dungeons and Dragons-like roleplaying game Pathfinder with his co-stars in front of a live studio audience. Over the show’s two previous seasons, it featured guest questers like comedian Patton Oswalt, Parks and Recreation star Aubrey Plaza, and Love’s Gillian Jacobs, who all took a shot at traversing the wild fantasy world Harmon—the brainchild of cult favorites like Community and Rick and Morty—has created.

Much like the similarly celebrity-based Twitch.tv RPG live stream Critical Roll, the show has received media praise due to its positive and amusing spin on the long-popular world of table-top RPG games. “The show makes its ventures a lot less time-consuming and ups the watchability quotient by throwing in animated segments in digestible half-hour episodes,” said reviewer Javon Phillips of the Los Angeles Times. “Gamemaster Spencer Crittenden approaches the show as just that — a show. It’s not just players playing the game and showing off their multi-sided dice-rolling skills.”

After first airing on the now-defunct streaming service Seeso, HarmonQuest moves to VRV, a fandom-focused platform featuring premium subscription video on demand channels like Crunchyroll, NickSplat and Rooster Teeth.

The series is executive produced by Harmon, Crittenden and James Fino. Harmon is also credited as a writer and director.

Comedy Club’s new Louis C.K. policy shirks responsibility (Opinion)

Sat, 10/06/2018 - 12:00
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After receiving (merited) backlash to Louis C.K.’s first unexpected drop-in set on August 26th, the Comedy Cellar made a move that conveniently shifts the onus of their booking choices back onto the audience. Rather than take a stand in either direction, the Comedy Cellar’s way of dealing with the “controversy” of Louis C.K.’s return is by posting a new disclaimer sign in the club (which is also printed on tickets).

The sign, bearing a classic icon of a swimming figure reads: “Swim at your own risk. We never know who is going to pop in. If an unannounced appearance is not your cup of tea, you are free to leave (unobtrusively please) no questions asked, your check on the house.”

As you likely know, less than a year ago Louis C.K. admitted to sexual misconduct towards women in the comedy world. Since “misconduct” feels like it applies more to misusing silverware at a post-church brunch than traumatizing colleagues, I want to clearly spell it out: Louis C.K. trapped women and jerked off in front of them. This is clearly not an issue of “slipping up” but a premeditated way to abuse his power in the comedy world. These women’s careers were put on ice because of both C.K. and his former manager Dave Becky’s use of intimidation and threats. When the allegations surfaced at large, Becky apologized for his past behavior and admitted, “I now comprehend that my response was perceived as a threat to cover-up sexual misconduct.”

So, when the Louie star returned to the stage less than a year after these allegations surfaced to the larger public, it served as a slap in the face to women in comedy, survivors of sexual abuse, and conscionable comedians everywhere. Nonetheless, even amidst backlash, his reception by the audience was largely warm and the Comedy Cellar allowed him on their stage again this past Sunday night— at which point two women left. It should be noted that the recent addition of the ‘Swim At Your Own Risk’ disclaimer did in fact allow those women to leave without paying.

While the Comedy Cellar’s new sign may seem fair to some—since it allows audience members to leave free of charge if they’re disturbed—it reads as a weak-willed way for the club to shirk themselves of responsibility. Rather than blatantly saying, “We are fine with hosting sexual abusers,” the club is shifting the onus back onto the audience, claiming if you want to go see comedy and a guy who sexually harasses or assaults women shows up, that’s on you.

In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Comedy Cellar owner Norm Dworman admitted it’s been tricky deciding how to handle the comedian’s comeback.  “Listen, we are really a free-expression outfit. People should not take me allowing them to perform as my approval of their character or the things they’ve done in their lives,” Dworman clarified. I would imagine Louis C.K.’s comeback is legitimately tricky to handle as a club owner. However, this is not a matter of limiting C.K.’s expression, but rather, deciding to run a club that doesn’t protect sexually inappropriate behavior. This is not about him making an off-color joke, it’s about the enabling of men like him driving women out of comedy.

It’s not unreasonable to expect one of the most iconic comedy clubs in the world to say something definitive about their choice to harbor sexual abusers in the workplace. According to Dworman, the club enabled C.K. by taking cues from the cultural handling of other sexually inappropriate men. “I don’t feel that there’s a clear standard out there in the world of when someone is supposed to be fired or denied an audience. I don’t think anyone’s come after the theaters and stages that allow Mike Tyson to tour the country with his show, and Bill Clinton is still invited to charity events,” Dworman told The Hollywood Reporter.

While he’s not wrong about the mishandling of Clinton or Tyson, his deflection shows that he knows this is a cultural problem. The comedy world, of all places, prides itself on pointing out hypocrisy and speaking uncomfortable truths. Why now, the convenient conformity when it comes to sexual predators Sadly, the entertainment industry wants to claim the structure of a work environment, while aggressively shirking off accountability that would be leveraged towards managers and workers anywhere else.

The Comedy Cellar, while seductive, is a Tinder date who warned you he has no ethical backbone. And when someone tells you who they are, it’s best to believe them.

Dave Chappelle’s Netflix special Bird Revelation is the perfect rape joke

Fri, 10/05/2018 - 14:28
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Dave Chappelle slaps the mic to his knee and laughs—he’s playing the famed Comedy Store. “Everything’s funny, until it happens to you.” From the start of his Netflix special The Bird Revelation, Chappelle’s brow is furrowed, face flat, as he levels his Black experience to that of white feminists who dragged him in the name of #MeToo for expressing “as little empathy as possible.” The audience laughs with the Chappelle’s Show star as he wonders aloud, “What happened to me? Where did I go for 12 years if I wasn’t raped? Maybe these rapes aren’t the worst of it.”

Chappelle’s entire set is a rape joke, one that won’t leave you holding your sides with laughter, but instead giggling as he does. Chappelle uses an extended metaphor, rather than a quick rumination on men being men. He doesn’t rely on a penis punchline to get the audience to chuckle. The Bird Revelation has been regarded by The New York Times as “the first comedy special to focus on the #MeToo movement.” It is my favorite exploration of the subject. Chappelle captures, at times clumsily, but most pointedly, why I don’t care about the Brett Kavanaugh sexual assault allegations.

This Netflix special is not about the Kavanaugh allegations directly. Although Chappelle does cut to the chase on Louis C.K., Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein, and Kevin Spacey. It was released in December 2017. When I first watched it, Kavanaugh was not a name I had heard. At this point, I can’t remember when I first heard it. The entire Ford v. Kavanaugh case has been a concern I haven’t given much energy too. Other things have been on my mind.

“It’s funny for a Black dude to see white people go through this because this is how it always is for us,” Chappelle says straight up. In The Bird Revelation, he talks about the 400-year nightmare that underpins our country—uses his experiences in Hollywood as a metaphor of a kind of rape. He hints throughout his set about why he left Chappelle’s Show in 2006, and the U.S. altogether. Iceberg Slim’s Pimp: The Story of My Life is what Chappelle refers to when he saysI’ll tell you what happened to me, but I can’t say it directly.” He says, “[In the memoir,] Iceberg Slim is trying to control a woman that he finds uncontrollable.” He calls this bit the capitalist manifesto, andthe reason [he] went to South Africa.”

Black paranoia sets the tone in Chappelle’s most intimate of his four Netflix specials. Often this is where we see great Black American comedians at their best: when they take a subject so aching in America’s current consciousness, and sit it next to our country’s greatest sins. Chappelle thinking through #MeToo reminds me of Paul Mooney in his special Analyzing White America. Mooney talks with white Americans who are troubled by 9/11. On stage he is in black, on a high stool, and says “I want to thank white America…because [Black Americans] will get through this terrorist stuff. White folks made us tough. Because they been terrorizing us for 500 years.”

Chappelle is a comedian of this tradition of joke-making. In The Age of Spin: Dave Chappelle Live at the Hollywood Palladium—one of his first two Netflix specials—he describes the wilds of Hollywood. The Washington, D.C. native gives us a portrait of a superhero who, as he puts it, “Rapes, but saves a lot of lives.” The superhero rapist is, at first, a fictional character in a movie pitch who resembles our current U.S. President. Then later, the superhero rapist is Bill Cosby, who was recently sentenced to 3-10 years in prison for his sexual assaults. But Chappelle in The Bird Revelation, like Mooney and #MeToo, misses it in regards to Black women. He flicks his cigarette, continuing with man-behind-the-desk authority. He says “You notice, a lot of Black dudes haven’t been getting me-too’d.” Chappelle adjusts in his seat. “The reason is because Black women, [since] slavery, won’t tell on us. Because they know that no matter how bad us Black dudes are, white dudes are very mean.” Chappelle gets it mostly right. He hits on a truth, but forgets Anita Hill.

Twenty-seven years ago, law professor Anita Hill accused then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment. Thomas dodged these accusations in a frenzy, securing his Associate Justice seat. The Hill-Thomas hearings are obviously urgent today. Hill is a Black woman, who came forward about a Black man, whose harassment against her needed to be considered and tried. Hill coming forward has set a tone for Ford v. Kavanaugh and sparked an on-going national discussion about sexual harassment. Former Vice President Joe Biden, then Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, told TeenVogue “I wish I had been able to do more for Anita Hill.” He retrospectively admitted, “I owe her an apology.” The U.S. justice system has never been fair. The Hill-Thomas hearings are infamously known for how poorly they were handled. Hill faced harsh judgement about the case, her race-gender, and her character. She did so with meager defense or support. There was no trending hashtag for her back then.

#MeToo was started by Tarana Burke, an activist known for her work around sexual assault and abuse. But in classic white American tradition, the #MeToo movement has become a cacophony of white feminists. Those feminists are who Chappelle is addressing when he says “I am not saying [jokes] to be mean. I am saying it because it’s funny.” Many did not find his jokes funny, and I thought as a survivor of sexual assault I wouldn’t either. But when a joke is funny, it’s funny.

After watching The Bird Revelation, I turned my television off wondering why Dave Chappelle has rape on his mind? “You know what ladies, you’re right! And they coming for you bitches”, he warns. “To be honest with you, your lives look terrifying to me. I know nothing about being a woman, but I know fear.” I connect with Chappelle here, and am glad he is back from his longtime at-sea, back from searching for his peace of mind—wherever Hollywood had flung it.

Conan O’Brien says goodbye to The Basic Cable Band (Video)

Fri, 10/05/2018 - 12:00
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So long, Basic Cable Band! Conan O’Brien bid farewell Thursday night to Jimmy Vivino and the band that’s played him on for 25 years since his days at NBC. Conan will move to a 30-minute format in 2019, a departure from the typical hourlong late night variety show that’s worked well for decades. Similar half-hour late night shows have existed on cable with The Daily Show, Colbert Report, and Full Frontal, but O’Brien has always operated within the hourlong format coming from broadcast television. The last time a network tried to mess with his format, NBC tried to push him to midnight resulting in his infamous departure from The Tonight Show.

Part of the move involves the former Late Night host creating more digital content, one of O’Brien’s strengths. He’ll also be signing talent deals with younger stand-ups for live tours and web projects of their own. With all those extra half hours, the Harvard alum will have time for his new podcast Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend. Little is known about the new Conan, but it is expected he will carry over segments popular with his fans and will still interview celebrity guests. Although we will get less of O’Brien on TBS, it looks like we can expect to get a net gain of red-headed content in 2019.

Poor Conan O’Brien continues to be shuffled around by TV executives who don’t know what to do with him and his rabid fan base. Like a craps player who keeps moving bets around on the table, it might be best to just leave him on the Pass Line and let him work his magic.

Watch him bid farewell to the Basic Cable Band on Thursday’s Conan.

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Jimmy Kimmel to open Las Vegas comedy club; will let ‘audience decide’ who is welcome

Fri, 10/05/2018 - 10:58
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ABC late night host Jimmy Kimmel is set to open his own comedy club on the Las Vegas Strip. The club is the product of a partnership with Caesars Entertainment Corporation, which approached Kimmel a year ago about the project. The 300-seat, 2-story venue will be sited directly across the street from Caesars Palace. Kimmel has also been toying with the idea of linking the club with his eponymous ABC show. Instead of having stand-ups perform in the TV studio, it is possible that the show will be able to cut live to the Vegas Club for stand-up sets.

The Jimmy Kimmel Live! host has been very invested in the planning of the yet-to-be-named club. He has personally made sure details like acoustics and ceiling height are just right. He has even helped plan the menu and has insisted that all food can be eaten without silverware, so as not to cause excess noise of utensils hitting plates. Kimmel wants every comic to feel like they are receiving world class treatment when they perform at the club and also hopes to capture the feeling of classic Las Vegas glamour.

Kimmel is a Las Vegas native and has talked about his love for Vegas on his show, most notably after the horrific Las Vegas mass shooting last year. He has also been excited to work with Caesars since many of his family members have worked there over the years.

Kimmel has stated that he will do drop-ins at the club himself and create a space for up-and-coming talent. The Oscars host recently caused some controversy after defending Louis C.K.’s quick return to stand-up comedy after confessing to assault. However, there has been no confirmation that C.K. will be booked at the club. “I think people tend to focus on the one or two people who walk out of a situation like that. Ultimately, the audience decides whether someone is welcomed back.”

“Building a club like this in my hometown is a dream come true,” Kimmel said in a statement. With the entertainer’s star power and roster of famous friends, this club will likely be a huge draw in the middle of the Nevada desert.

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Louis C.K.’s second Comedy Cellar appearance tests club’s new Swim At Your Own Risk policy

Fri, 10/05/2018 - 09:00
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Louis C.K. made a return to stand-up at the infamous Comedy Cellar late Sunday night. Again. This new hiatus lasted just 5 weeks. Two women walked out during his set, but reports claim his material was well-received. According to The New York Times, the set lasted about 20 minutes as he read mostly from notes. Once again he did not address his admitted sexual misconduct, something he has not spoken about publicly since his apology in November.

C.K. made headlines after a surprise August 26 appearance at the New York City comedy club following 9 months away from the public eye. He’d actually performed before the Cellar drop-in at Governor’s on Long Island the same day. That club’s owner, James Dolce, said the audience gave him a warm reception and that the comedian “has paid his price, and deserves a second chance.”

After the second appearance, Comedy Cellar owner Noam Dworman decided not to ban the once-adored and -revered Louis C.K. “I’ve thought about this from every angle, and have sought a lot of outside advice to try to guide me,” he told Rolling Stone, though he does not mention from whom he sought advice. “I don’t feel that there’s a clear standard out there in the world of when someone is supposed to be fired or denied an audience,” he told The Hollywood Reporter in a separate interview. “And I don’t think anyone’s come after the theaters and stages that allow Mike Tyson to tour the country with his show, and Bill Clinton is still invited to charity events.”

To deal with the initial backlash, Dworman chose to warn customers that you ‘swim at your own risk’ by entering his doors. “The one complaint that I felt I didn’t have a good answer for, was customers who came who felt ambushed [seeing a surprise drop-in from an admitted sexual abuser.] One option was to put [C.K.] on the line-up, but for practical reasons that won’t work, so I decided the next thing to do was to have this policy and give customers notice.” Any patron upset by an unannounced performer is “free to leave (unobtrusively please) no questions asked, your check on the house.”

The Comedy Cellar is essentially offering a trigger warning that comes with a free drink bill—something apparently used once during the second Louis C.K. appearance. Some say he’s ‘served his time’ and should be allowed back in. Others want the prolific creator to just go away for a longer while—self-imposed or through bans by venue owners. And yet others still maintain that what he did—masturbating in front of younger female comedians without their consent—isn’t ‘that bad.’ Without a doubt, many in the industry are watching what Dworman does as the debate amongst comedy circles continues. The Cellar may be a basement-level comedy club, but it is held in the highest of esteems to comedy fans who will probably continue to swim in these murky waters.

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Amy Schumer arrested at #CancelKavanaugh protest in Washington, D.C.

Thu, 10/04/2018 - 18:07
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Amy Schumer was detained Thursday while protesting Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Thousands rallied in Washington, D.C. to oppose the federal judge who has been accused of sexual misconduct by three different women during his high school and college years. Schumer—along with celebrities like John Legend, Whoopi Goldberg, and Lena Dunham—promoted the #CancelKavanaugh protest outside the E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse.

Protesters later moved to the Hart Senate Office where at least 100 people were detained by Capital Police—including the Trainwreck star. According to a video posted by @NewsThisSecond, a cop asked, “Do you want to be arrested?” to which Schumer confidently responds, “Yes.”

VIDEO: Amy Schumer is protesting at the Hart Senate office building.

Cop asks “Do you want to be arrested?”

Schumer: “Yes.” pic.twitter.com/oV3BOu1ESU

— News This Second (@NewsThisSecond) October 4, 2018

Also arrested was her I Feel Pretty co-star Emily Ratajkowski. “Today I was arrested protesting the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh,” the actress posted to Instagram. “Men who hurt women can no longer be placed in positions of power. Kavanaugh’s confirmation as a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States is a message to women in this country that they do not matter.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Today I was arrested protesting the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, a man who has been accused by multiple women of sexual assault. Men who hurt women can no longer be placed in positions of power. Kavanaugh’s confirmation as a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States is a message to women in this country that they do not matter. I demand a government that acknowledges, respects and supports women as much as it does men.

A post shared by Emily Ratajkowski (@emrata) on Oct 4, 2018 at 1:32pm PDT

Schumer has not been shy about her activism speaking up about #MeToo, body positivity, Hollywood diversity, and gun violence. Earlier in the day, she spoke to a frustrated body of protestors as the Senate Leader Mitch McConnell moved for cloture on the confirmation vote, which could take place as soon as Friday morning. “We’re going to keep showing up and no matter how this goes, they cannot keep us down…A vote for Kavanaugh is a vote saying ‘Women don’t matter.’ Let’s stay together. Let’s fight. Let’s keep showing up.”

MY MOM AND AMY SCHUMER ARE GETTING ARRESTED TOGETHER AND AMY SAID HI TO ME pic.twitter.com/AqZUBUxUrd

— Z (@Theboldtype_z) October 4, 2018

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Nanette and 7 other comedy specials that are changing the game

Thu, 10/04/2018 - 16:00
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When you imagine a stand-up special, you might think about Eddie Murphy in a skintight leather suit or Richard Pryor directly in a spotlight against a black background or George Carlin standing in front of a huge USC mural. These are the images that tipify the modern comedy special. When audiences tune into Comedy Central or HBO, they expect a (cough) man, a microphone, and the laughs of a roaring crowd over sharp jokes. But as stand-up comedy got more popular, so did the stand-up special. Now there is a seemingly endless list of new comedy specials to watch. Streaming sites like Netflix have produced more specials in the last few years than audiences have ever had before (in fact, they released a new comedy special every week in 2017). With the influx of new specials, many have started to play with both the limits of structure and content when crafting their hour. From sincerity about hard subjects to the complete lack of an audience, these 8 comedians challenge the limits of what a comedy special can be:

8) Neal Brennan: 3 Mics, Netflix (2017)

Neal Brennan’s 3 Mics deconstructs three types of comedy. He labels each mic: one-liners, stand-up, and “emotional stuff.” By labeling the mics and physically moving in between them, he makes the audience hyperaware of the types of performance they are watching. While most stand-up specials will naturally have at least a little bit of all three categories, Brennan seems to be teaching the audience how to understand the comedy writing process. While the three modes are completely different, his crass one-liners, his tight stand-up, and his honest look at depression meld together to paint a full portrait of the comedian.

 

7) Wyatt Cenac: Brooklyn (2014)

Wyatt Cenac’s Brooklyn could have been a very traditional stand-up special. But Cenac made it unique by not only taping it in a tiny Brooklyn venue, but also acting out a handful of his jokes with puppets superimposed over his set. The puppets break the confines of the club and introduce an element of imagination and whimsey while Cenac is talking about heavier topics like the death of his father when he was a child. If it wasn’t hipster enough, Cenac released a limited edition vinyl album if puppets weird you out.

6) Judah Friedlander: America is the Greatest Country in the United States, Netflix (2017)

Judah Friedlander created a truly DIY special. America is the Greatest Country in the United States was filmed over a collection of nights at the famed Comedy Cellar in New York City. The first stand-up special from the self-proclaimed “world champion” is comprised almost entirely of crowd work. Filmed on a shoestring budget in black and white, the special feels like a mix between a documentary and a found film. Some jokes are repeated. Different nights are smashed together, creating an absurdist picture of political comedy in a post-Trump America.

5) Maria Bamford: The Special Special Special (2012)

Maria Bamford was already a celebrated stand-up in 2012 for her less-than-conventional approach to comedy, but The Special Special Special played with the very concept of what a comedy special can be. Filmed entirely in her California home with only her mother and father in the audience, Bamford creates an often uncomfortably intimate space. Jokes that should have had uproarious laughter by a crowd are instead punctuated by a single chuckle from her dad. While The Special Special Special doesn’t contain many of the mental illness-related jokes she would later be praised for, its tone is fascinating and unshakable. Her newest special, Old Baby, continues to challenge the form as she performs in a wide range of different venues from a living room to a library to, yes, a bowling alley.

4) Hasan Minhaj: Homecoming King, Netflix (2017)

For stand-ups, a microphone in hand can almost be a security blanket. But not only does Minhaj not need the crutch, it would have held him back in his first Netflix special Homecoming King. He moves around the stage quickly, at times running and jumping. He shows the audience family photos on the giant screen behind him. While most comedians tell jokes about their families, Minhaj pushes it further. At times, Homecoming King feels like a memoir reading or a one-man show. Not every story is happy—much of the special revolves around being brown in a post-9/11 world. While Minhaj tries to punctuate each story with a joke, the realities of racism leak into this special in a way that forces you to think and remember and examine what it means to be a person of color in America.

3) Bo Burnham: Make Happy, Netflix (2016)

Musical comedy specials have always felt a little different, but Make Happy stands out for its last 15 minutes. Bo Burnham explains in the special that he has been performing since he was a teenager and this is all he knows. He asks the audience, “What? Do you want me to be funny and make a point?” And then he goes on a 10-minute Kanye West-style rant which starts about Pringles and ends in an opus on the nature of the relationship between performer and audience. He captures the feelings of a clown that is trying to give the audience the happiness that his declining mental health won’t let him have. Make Happy follows his 2013 special What?, also on Netflix, where he truly broke free from ‘guitar guy’ criticisms, masterfully blending stand-up, song, and performance art.

2) Drew Michael, HBO (2018)

Drew Michael has a frenetic energy that leaves the watcher in a suspended state between agitation and alarm. Michael forgoes both audience and theater and instead performs in a space that looks like a photographer’s studio on a spaceship. Directed by fellow comedian Jerrod Carmichael, the look is unlike any special you’ve ever seen. His intensely personal jokes are intercut with FaceTime conversations with a girlfriend-type, but the most striking thing about the special is his delivery. Michael approaches extremely well-written jokes with a delivery so angry that the special feels like a psychotic take on a one-man show. Without an audience, all the viewers hear are their own laughs; the audience gets to decide what is funny without feeding off of a larger audience. Drew Michael is an experience. As Michael says in the special, if a joke isn’t for you, ignore it and let it hit the person that it is meant for. Drew Michael isn’t for everyone and that might be the most revolutionary thing about it.

1)Hannah Gadsby: Nannette, Netflix (2018)

Truly the stand-up special that launched 1,000 opinions. Is it comedy? It has all the trappings of a comedy special. There is an audience. It is taped inside a large theater. Comedian Hannah Gadsby—previously an unknown here in the States—even starts with typical stand-up material. It isn’t until the last third of the special that the intensity ramps up as she starts expressing her personal trauma and you see the special for what it really is: a discussion of comedy as a coping mechanism. Parts of the special feel like Gadsby is putting comedy on trial. Other parts feel like she’s putting men on trial. But more importantly, Nanette is a love letter to women in the #MeToo era.

The post Nanette and 7 other comedy specials that are changing the game appeared first on LaughSpin.

Michael Che teases Jerrod Carmichael Netflix project on Instagram

Wed, 10/03/2018 - 18:57
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If you follow Michael Che on Instagram, then you know that he doesn’t post. He almost exclusively posts text-based rants on his Instagram story (no, he still has not seen Nanette). You’ll also know that he doesn’t follow anyone. The comedian is usually an ephemeral stream of opinions and reactions. So it was surprising to see him post an actual picture Tuesday of him and Jerrod Carmichael laughing on stage with the suggestive caption, “for netflix..?

Watch Big Mouth’s birth control Bachelorette ahead of season 2 premiere

Wed, 10/03/2018 - 16:35
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Big Mouth was last year’s better-late-than-never sex ed Netflix series from the minds of John Mulaney and Nick Kroll. The cartoon highlighted the angst, struggles, and hilarity of puberty by portraying hormones as imaginary monster friends who haunt the middle school main characters Andrew (Mulaney), Jessi (Jessi Klein), and Nick (Kroll). Netflix teased the upcoming second season with a Bachelorette parody. In the cartoon, Leah (Kat Dennings) learns about her various birth control options on Miss Contraception! Did you forget about the diaphragm? Yup. We did, too.

The charm of Big Mouth lies in its explanation of the things we should have learned when we were the characters’ ages but know now—possibly after learning the hard way. From consent to periods to nocturnal emissions, Big Mouth covers sex education more than most states require by law. The second season will cover the topic of shame and development when Gina, voiced by Gina Rodriguez (Jane the Virgin), is the first girl in school to develop breasts and the complicated social fallout and slut-shaming that follows. Harry Potter vet David Thewlis joins the show as Shame Wizard who attempts to keep kids fearful of their bodies and sexual desires.

Find out which contraception Leah picks and pray she doesn’t choose the pull-out method—represented as a boundary-crossing, tipsy high school boy. If you haven’t seen the show, binge watch season one in time for new episodes dropping on Netflix Friday, October 5.

The post Watch Big Mouth’s birth control Bachelorette ahead of season 2 premiere appeared first on LaughSpin.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine Star Chelsea Peretti Announces Exit on Twitter

Wed, 10/03/2018 - 14:38
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Bad news for Brooklyn Nine-Nine fans today: Chelsea Peretti announced that she will not be returning for the saved sixth season of the beloved police sitcom. At least not as a series regular. However, showrunner Dan Goor assured fans that we will 100% see Gina on NBC at some point. “I mean, she got run over by a frickin’ bus, and she only missed like a week of work.”

“I won’t be doing a full season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine in season six,” Peretti tweeted Wednesday. “But that doesn’t mean I won’t ever be back…I want to thank you for the hours you spent watching Gina be Gina: confident, idiotic-but-smart, pithy, and infused with rhythm and cell-phone radiation.” The comedian then invoked the words of former Shameless star Emmy Rossum—who we recently found out would not be returning after the current ninth season. “Try not to think of me as gone, just think of me as moving down the block.”

The former Kroll Show star has been a series regular since the show premiered on Fox 112 episodes ago. Earlier this year, Fox canceled the fan favorite after five seasons. As is becoming more commonplace, another network swooped in, with NBC reviving it for a 13-episode sixth season. Last month execs ordered an additional five episodes. Up next for Peretti is the film Friendsgiving due out next year alongside Malin Akerman, Jane Seymour, and 2 Broke Girls’s Kat Dennings. Meanwhile, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is slated to return mid-season. So prepare to cuddle up this winter to watch Detectives Jake Peralta and Rosa Diaz get back to work.

The post Brooklyn Nine-Nine Star Chelsea Peretti Announces Exit on Twitter appeared first on LaughSpin.

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