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Iliza Shlesinger joins Jerry Seinfeld, Bill Burr for Garden of Laughs fundraiser

Fri, 02/22/2019 - 16:00

Iliza Shlesinger has joined the lineup for Garden of Laughs, the bi-annual comedy benefit thrown in support of the Gardens of Dreams Foundation. Presented by Delta Airlines, Shlesinger joins a night of stand-up performances among fellow top comedians like Jerry Seinfeld, Bill Burr, Michael Che, John Mulaney, Brian Regan, and Jon Stewart.

The 2019 show is hosted by Steve Schirripa and will take place at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden on April 2.

Shlesinger recently premiered her fourth Netflix stand-up special, Elder Millennial—which ranked 12th on Laughspin’s end-of-year best of list. The Last Comic Standing winner has gained popularity with her three previous Netflix specials: War Paint, Freezing Hot, and Confirmed Kills. Shlesinger released her first book Girl Logic: The Genius and the Absurdity, a collection of essays and observations on a confident woman’s approach to friendship and singlehood. In addition to stand-up, she was recently seen on the big screen in Instant Family alongside Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne.

Garden of Dreams Foundation making dreams come true

The Garden of Dreams Foundation is a non-profit organization that works with MSG and MSG Networks Inc. to positively impact the lives of children. The Foundation works with 30 partner organizations like hospitals, wish organizations, and community-based organizations, to work with children facing homelessness, poverty, illness, and foster care.

Since its beginning in 2006, Garden of Dreams has held shows using the magic of MSG Networks, including the Knicks, Rangers and Radio City Rockettes, to host over 100 kids from the surrounding tri-state area. In addition, through its Garden of Dreams Giving Program, the Foundation provides grants that fund important projects like the refurbishment of gymnasiums and pediatric areas at local hospitals, construction of new dance and music studios and assisting students to achieve their educational goals. The Foundation takes pride in its commitment to changing lives, hosting more than 500 events and programs each year.

Tickets prices for Garden of Laughs range from $70-$395. Tickets are on sale now.

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Late night round-up: Adam Ferrara, Mo Amer

Fri, 02/22/2019 - 15:21

Presidents’ Day was a quiet week for late night stand-up with several shows taking the full week off. Jimmy Kimmell Live! and Conan aired reruns, but a couple of comedians delivered tight sets for those tuning in. Mo Amer stopped by The Tonight Show while perennial veteran Adam Ferrara made an appearance on The Late Late Show. Here’s a couple of stand-up sets to get you 10 minutes closer to the weekend.

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

Mo Amer debuted a Netflix special last year, Vagabond. Amer made big news a few years ago after tweeting his experience sitting next to Eric Trump on a trans-Atlantic flight. On The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Falon, Amer discussed his status as a Palestinian Muslim refugee—of course, adding a humorous spin to the otherwise horrid political situation.

Late Night with Seth Meyers Late Show with Stephen Colbert Late Late Show with James Corden

Adam Ferrara gained notoriety as a TV actor on the Denis Leary FX series Rescue Me. The stand-up vet regularly tours the country telling jokes and doing characters that made him the heavy headliner he is today. It was wonderful seeing Ferrara stop by The Late Late Show with James Corden for a tight five.

Jimmy Kimmel Live! Conan

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Ken Jeong seizure joke upsets Epilepsy Foundation

Fri, 02/22/2019 - 12:20

Ken Jeong’s Netflix special, Ken Jeong: You Complete Me Ho, is getting some critical reviews—from the epilepsy community.

In the comedian’s first-ever stand-up special, Jeong tells a story about a time he filmed a scene for Ride Along 2 with Ice Cube and Kevin Hart. During the shoot, which took place in an Atlanta nightclub, somebody suffered a “severe generalized tonic-clonic seizure,” as Jeong, who used to be a practicing physician, phrased it.

According to Jeong, both he and Ice Cube sprang into action, while Hart ran away. “We’re like two outfielders going for the same ball,” said Jeong. Ice Cube, who is ripping off his belt while running towards the patient, gets there first.

“I’m like, ‘Woah, woah, woah, you don’t whip the patient, Cube.’”

Instead, Cube puts the belt around the patient’s mouth so he wouldn’t choke on his own tongue. “Ice Cube, not me, saved the patient’s life,” Jeong joked. “Just a shout out to Ice Cube.”

Ken Jeong faces backlash over epilepsy joke

It may have been a joke, but the epilepsy community took the matter seriously. The president and CEO of the Epilepsy Foundation, Philip M. Gattone, M.Ed released a statement admonishing the story.

“While we certainly understand that comedy routines by definition should not be taken seriously, it is greatly and even more disturbing given the fact that Jeong is also a medical doctor — and he reminds his audience of this just before his comedic routine. It is worrisome that his audience would assume his description of seizures and seizure first aid is serious and not comedic.”

As it turns out, the fear that somebody suffering a seizure might choke on his or her own tongue is a myth. In fact, the Epilepsy Foundation website has a section in their first aid tips titled “Do Not Put Anything in the Person’s Mouth!”

“Jaw and face muscles may tighten during a seizure, causing the person to bite down,” according to the website. “If this happens when something is in the mouth, the person may break and swallow the object or break their teeth!”

Former doctor shares second seizure story

The Ice Cube seizure story is not the only seizure joke in the special. He told another story about jumping off-stage to help a woman having a seizure during one of his stand-up shows in Phoenix. Jeong and an audience member, who happened to be a paramedic, helped treat the patron.  

Jeong no longer practices medicine, but he frequently plays a doctor in movies and on TV. Most recently, he played the title character in the ABC sitcom Dr. Ken, which ran for two seasons.

You can read the Epilepsy Foundation’s full statement below.

Epilepsy Foundation statement on Ken Jeong

Members of our community brought to our attention Ken Jeong’s new comedy special on Netflix where he incorrectly referenced seizure first aid procedures and provided potentially dangerous information to his audience. While we certainly understand that comedy routines by definition should not be taken seriously, it is greatly and even more disturbing given the fact that Jeong is also a medical doctor — and he reminds his audience of this just before his comedic routine. It is worrisome that his audience would assume his description of seizures and seizure first aid is serious and not comedic. In fact, epilepsy is a serious neurological disorder and people with epilepsy may experience hundreds of seizures a day. We are outraged and disappointed that Jeong makes some shockingly bad references to seizures and seizure first aid procedures in his Netflix comedy special.

In Jeong’s show, he talks about how Ice Cube “saved” someone having a seizure by wrapping a belt around the person’s mouth because the person could have swallowed their tongue. He then praised Ice Cube for his quick response. This is absolutely NOT the way to aid someone having a seizure. In fact, this wrong action could, at the very least, cause serious injury to the individual having the seizure and to the person attempting to provide help. And, at the worst, this wrong action could result in the death of the person having the seizure.

Seizure first aid is actually easy and safe if done correctly (www.epilepsy.com/firstaid).

It was not long ago that Jeong, himself, helped someone having a seizure during one of his stand-up comedy routines. We would like to think that he, as a medical doctor, is very aware of the seriousness of seizures and how important it is for everyone to know proper seizure first aid. Unfortunately, Jeong’s Netflix comedy routine does not educate people about seizures or provide accurate information on what to do if someone sees a person having a seizure. It does the opposite and puts 3.4 million people with epilepsy in the U.S. at increased risk of injury and death. Communicating improper information about seizures and seizure first aid only adds to the myths, ignorance, misunderstanding and fear that exist about seizures and can destroy the lives and livelihoods of people with epilepsy.

For decades, and in partnership with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Epilepsy Foundation has developed and activated nationwide programs to promote public education about epilepsy, seizure recognition and how to administer seizure first aid.

We are disappointed that Netflix, once again, chose to air such inaccurate information about seizures that directly and negatively impacts our community. Despite our numerous attempts to have a conversation with Netflix’s leadership to ensure seizures are accurately depicted in their production projects, Netflix has not been very responsive. We have reached out to Mr. Jeong’s team with the hopes of working with him to educate his audience about epilepsy and seizures and provide accurate seizure first aid information.

 

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Mindy Kaling signs massive overall deal with Warner Brothers

Thu, 02/21/2019 - 18:32

Mindy Kaling logs another big money payday after her latest deal with Warner Brothers. Kaling reportedly signed a six-year overall deal for $8.5 million per year, according to Deadline. The overall deal comes just weeks after the Mindy Project star broke records at Sundance selling her movie Late Night to Amazon for $13 million.

Warner Brothers’ TV production house won an apparent bidding war for the writer-producer-actress. Kaling had been at NBCUniversal for over 15 years before heading to the Warner Brothers lot.

Mindy Kaling flees NBCUniversal after 15 years

Kaling started out at NBC’s diversity writing program before writing on The Office’s first season—where she later played Kelly Kapoor. Universal Television, one branch of the NBCUniversal TV group, co-produced The Mindy Project from Kaling. NBC’s Hulu swept in to save The Mindy Project when Fox gave it a surprising ax after three seasons. The show lasted another three seasons until 2017. Her most recent project with Universal, Champions, lasted just one season at NBC.

The Ocean’s 8 star is in high demand. In addition to the all-female Ocean’s sequel, Kaling appeared in the Oprah Winfrey-led A Wrinkle In Time and voiced a character in the recent Ralph Breaks the Internet. Both of her books have made the New York Times Bestsellers List.

The Warner Brothers deal directs Kaling to develop, write, and produce shows for “all platforms.” The deal is not limited to comedy series. She will create comedies, dramas, unscripted series, digital content—basically, anything Kaling comes up with belongs to Warner Brothers TV Group. Warner Bros. will then shop her ideas around to broadcast television, cable channels, and streaming services.

What’s next for Mindy Kaling?

Fans of the comedian can next see her in Late Night starring opposite Emma Thompson. Late Night is about a late night talk show host, Katherine Newbury (Thompson), who hires a female writer (Kaling) when on the verge of losing her show.

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Broad City surprises superfans during fifth and final season

Thu, 02/21/2019 - 17:40

The final season of Broad City will have at least one shocking twist. A promotional video from Comedy Central depicts Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer posing as male crew members—facial hair and all—and surprising Broad City superfans. Producers told the fans they were just being interviewed about their love of the show.

The clip shows a strong bond between the fans of the show and the stars. Glazer and Jacobson chill in the background of the video reacting to fan answers to questions about why they love the show, or how they would end it.

“Honestly, I just hope Abbi and Ilana get married,” said one fan, as the stars looked to each other and smiled.

Eventually, the real crew stops the shoot because of a supposed lighting issue, and Jacobson and Glazer pretend to come out to fix it. Soon, the wigs come off and the hugs begin.

“Oh, my god, feel my heart,” said one Broad City superfan. “Were you guys the ones that were over there the whole time?”

The Other Two fills in behind Broad City final season

New episodes air Thursdays at 10:00 p.m. on Comedy Central. This week’s episode, titled Artsy Fartsy, will be the fifth episode of the final season. In it, “Abbi gets invited to a fancy art event at MoMA; Ilana and Lincoln have a one-year relationship check-in,” says the Comedy Central website.

Following Broad City is Comedy Central’s freshman series The Other Two, which is about two siblings who are trying to manage their own careers while also dealing with feelings of jealousy about their young brother’s new internet fame. The Other Two is crushing it with critics and is already confirmed for a second season as Comedy Central prepares for a post-Broad City world.

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Lena Waithe will teach you How To Make Love To A Black Woman

Thu, 02/21/2019 - 15:30

Lena Waithe just landed a new comedy series at Showtime. How To Make Love To A Black Woman (Who May Be Working Through Some Sh*t) will be an anthology series of multi-part, half-hour episodes dealing with the humor and harrowing nature of sexual secrets. Waithe will executive produce the show with Rich Rajani and Cathy Kisakye.

Showtime inked a first-look deal with Waithe in 2018. Showtime’s President of Entertainment Gary Levine announced last year that, “Lena is a creative force of nature and we are delighted that the force will be with us as she makes Showtime her creative home.”

The deal allows the network first dibs at her scripted work. Showtime also announced last year that The Chi, also from Waithe, was its biggest drama series launch in two years. Just last week, the show about life on the South Side of Chicago was nominated for five NAACP Image Awards—more than any other cable drama. The show’s second season premieres on April 7.

Lena Waithe on the rise at Showtime

Waithe also co-wrote and acted in Netflix’s Master of None. She won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series for her work on the Aziz Ansari-led show. She also has a comedy pilot in the works at TBS, called Twenties. That show revolves around a queer black woman and her two, straight female best friends, as they chase their dreams and things get messy. Waithe hit the big screen last year in the Steven Spielberg blockbuster Ready Player One.

Kisakye, who wrote on both seasons of The Chi, is writing the pilot episode of How To Make Love To A Black Woman. Waithe described Kisakye’s script as, “haunting, funny, and extremely vulnerable—it’s the kind of script that doesn’t come around very often.” Kisakye is also writing for the upcoming season of Homecoming at Amazon.

 

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It’s such an honor to work with Cathy on this groundbreaking show! Looking forward to the journey. #HowToMakeLoveToAblackWomanThatMightBeGoingThroughSomeShit … an anthology series. Peep the link in my bio for more info.

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Here are the Oscar nominees…if The Academy respected comedies

Thu, 02/21/2019 - 13:58

The Oscars don’t respect comedy. Full stop. The Academy rarely nominates comedies for the prestigious award. A non-musical comedy film hasn’t won Best Picture since 1977’s Annie Hall, but there was a slight uptake in the 1950s and 1960s when movies like Tom Jones, The Apartment, and Around The World in 80 Days all won Best Picture. 1930s romcoms like You Can’t Take It With You and It Happened One Night won over Academy voters. Somewhere along the way, comedies stopped being taken seriously as Oscar contenders.

The Academy of Motion Pictures releases a list of all Oscar-eligible movies every year and this year’s had 347 films. Most films on that list will never make it close to an Oscar nomination. There are a lot of reasons for this. Some are bad, some not enough people saw, but many will never get a nomination because “they just don’t feel like the type of films that get an Oscar.”

After seeing Green Book and Bohemian Rhapsody win Best Picture at the Golden Globes, many award show watchers were disappointed and left thinking, “That was really the best?” With the hostless Oscars on the horizon, it is time to reflect on the best movies of the year. 

Last year gave us some amazing comedies. Most are not nominated but, to their credit, several historical dramedies like BlacKkKlansman, The Favourite, Green Book, and Vice have snuck into the list of nominees. Bo Burnham’s Eighth Grade continues to shock the industry scooping up coveted awards from the DGA and WGA. Eighth Grade is nominated for zero Oscars. Many pure comedies should be Oscar contenders, so Laughspin has a list of comedies that should be nominated for an Academy Award.

Best Actor/Actress Oscar Elsie Fisher – Eighth Grade

Elsie Fisher is only 15 but gave a powerhouse performance in Bo Burnham’s directorial debut, Eighth Grade. Fisher is pitch perfect in every moment of this film and gives a mutated but intricate performance brimming with humor that deserved a nomination for Best Actress.

Regina Hall – Support the Girls

Support the Girls is not the best comedy of the year, but Regina Hall is amazing in it. She won the African-American Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress, the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress, and may win the Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead for this role later this year.

Daveed Diggs – Blindspotting

Blindspotting is a dramedy that really leans more toward comedy than drama. Daveed Diggs perfectly balances the dark subject matter of life after prison coupled with laugh-out-loud comedy. The movie scored big at Sundance and was a critical darling, making it harder to believe that the Academy showed it no love.

Jason Mantzoukas – The Long Dumb Road

Not many people saw The Long Dumb Road, but the buddy road movie starring Jason Mantzoukas and Tony Revolori. While the critical response to the movie wasn’t as high as some of the other comedies on this list, his performance garnered rave reviews at Sundance.

John C. Reilly – Stan & Ollie

John C. Reilly has had a wild year. He was nominated for both a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for his portrayal of  Oliver Hardy and a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Supporting Actor for his work on Holmes & Watson. Stan & Ollie should have been Oscar bait. It’s a showbiz biopic—that’s the Academy’s bread and butter. However, unlike other comedian bio-pics like Man on the Moon or Chaplin, it might be too quiet of a film. The narrative is extremely tight and funnier than other more tragic tales. Empire said of the movie, “[Steve] Coogan and Reilly’s performances are among the best either has ever given. This film, which pays wonderfully funny tribute to two comic legends, richly deserves them.”

Best Original Screenplay Oscar Boots Riley – Sorry to Bother You

If it isn’t the best screenplay of the year, it is certainly the most original. Often, the Academy uses this category to reward risks and Sorry to Bother You could should be that film.

Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar Peter Chiarelli, Adele Lim – Crazy Rich Asians

Based on the book of the same name, Crazy Rich Asians was something of a cultural phenomenon. The movie has already won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture and Best Comedy at the Critics’ Choice Awards. A Best Adapted Screenplay seems to fit right in line.

Elizabeth Berger, Isaac Aptaker – Love, Simon

Love, Simon was another book adaptation to make waves last year. Based on the novel, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, Love, Simon is a pitch-perfect romcom with a funny and engaging script.

Best Foreign Film Oscar Have a Nice Day

Sometimes comedies secretly slide into this category without many noticing because most Americans do not watch foreign films. Have a Nice Day shouldn’t be missed. This animated Chinese crime comedy tells the story of a driver who steals money from his boss in order to fix his girlfriend’s failed plastic surgery but is hunted down by a hitman, a gangster, and a thief. It is trippy and strange and highly addictive.

Best Director Oscar Jacques Audiard -The Sisters Brothers

The Sisters Brothers is the first English-language film from legendary French director Jacques Audiard. With another great performance from John C. Reilly, the film was based on the novel of the same name by Patrick deWitt. The darkly comedic tone of books translates well into the film while Audiard also captures the natural beauty of Calfornia in stark contrast of the industrialization of the Gold Rush.

John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein – Game Night

Game Night is a really good movie, though it is one of the most traditional-looking comedies on this list—which makes it the least likely to ever get an Oscar nod. John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein have worked together on many comedy films including Horrible Bosses, National Lampoon’s Vacation, and Spider-Man: Homecoming. Game Night showed the two could direct a financially and critically successful picture together.  

Jonah Hill – mid90s

The Academy already respects Jonah Hill, having nominated him for Best Supporting Actor twice. His directorial debut mid90s is a beautiful film that would feel at home in many categories including Best Cinematography or Best Original Screenplay, but Hill really proved himself as a director with this indie darling.

Bo Burnham – Eighth Grade

This list mentions Eighth Grade a lot, probably because some are calling it one of the biggest snubs of the year. Burnham has already taken home the Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing – First-Time Feature Film and the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Original Screenplay for his writing and directing. A Best Director Oscar makes total sense—if the Academy knew what they were doing.

Best Documentary Oscar Love, Gilda

Okay, so it’s not a comedy in the traditional sense of the word, but it seems a shame that this beautiful tribute to legendary comedian Gilda Radner wasn’t honored.

Best Picture Oscar Eighth Grade

As a writer-director, Burnham captured something that is innately human. The film is funny and somehow at the same time haunting. If a comedy could ever sweep an award show, it would be this film because every piece is so well done.

All About Nina

All About Nina takes the trope of tears of a clown and makes it feel so fresh and important. Movies about life in Hollywood are often front-runners for Best Picture, but most of those films focus on the film industry. All About Nina focuses on stand-up comedy. The film perfectly balances romance and humor and trauma and self-destructive behavior. From writer-director Eva Vives, All About Nina was well received at the Tribeca Film Festival. The film stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Common giving great performances.  

The Death of Stalin

The Death of Stalin is a black comedy and while a comedy, does a fairly good job depicting the power struggle following Stalin’s death in 1953. The film feels a little bit like Dr. Strangelove and a little bit like Death at a Funeral. It somehow breaks up the politics with pure nonsense. Russia banned the film but it received high praise in the States.

The Land of Steady Habits

While premiering at the Toronto Film Festival, The Land of Steady Habits was released on Netflix. Many Netflix films appeared on the list of eligible films this year, but The Land of Steady Habits stands apart because of the team behind it. Nicole Holofcener wrote and directed the film and, while she did not receive a nomination for her efforts, she did receive a nod for Best Adapted Screenplay for Can You Ever Forgive Me? The Land of Steady Habits follows a family as their father leaves their mother because he is feeling stifled in Westport, Connecticut.

Thoroughbreds

Thoroughbreds is a dark comedy/thriller in the style of Heathers. The movie garnered attention at Sundance and is the last U.S. theatrical release to star Anton Yelchin who passed away in 2016. Thoroughbreds is a surprisingly slow movie that is impossible to look away from.

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Mötley Crüe biopic, Amy Schumer: Growing hit Netflix in March

Thu, 02/21/2019 - 13:00

Netflix released a list of everything new to stream next month. On that list, there are new sitcoms, stand-up specials, and comedies that will make you laugh. Netflix released a promo, but it doesn’t have every comedy coming to the platform, so Laughspin is here to bring you every comedy that is coming to Netflix in March.

Netflix Original Shows Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj: Volume 2 (Streaming Every Sunday)

Okay, so Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj is already back, but there will be new episodes throughout March. Hasan Minhaj already dropped it like it’s hot with episodes about censorship in China and drug pricing for the second volume of his half-hour comedy-news program.

After Life comes March 8

Ricky Gervais stars in After Life, a new show about a grumpy widower. In this dark comedy-drama, Gervais’s character has to deal with the death of his wife, the newspaper he works for failing, and isolation as he pushes those close to him away.

Arrested Development: Season 5 B comes March 15

Arrested Development: Season 5 A came out March 2018 and for fans of the little show that could the wait is almost over. No word yet if there will be a Season 6, so the future of the Bluths is still up in the air.

Turn Up Charlie comes March 15

Idris Elba plays a struggling DJ in this quirky Brittish show. Turn Up Charlie follows Elba’s character as he becomes a manny to his famous friend’s problem-child daughter.

Most Beautiful Thing comes March 22


Most Beautiful Thing takes place in late 1950s Rio de Janeiro. The Brazilian TV show follows a woman who gains her independence after her husband abandons her. Early promos have made the show look like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel meets Bossa Nova.

Santa Clarita Diet: Season 3 comes March 29


The dark horror-comedy Santa Clarita Diet is coming back for a third season. Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant are back as Sheila and Joel Hammond as they deal with the consequences of Shelia transforming into a zombie with a craving for human flesh.

Trailer Park Boys: The Animated Series comes March 31

In 2014, The Trailer Park Boys ended on a cliff hanger when the cast was turned into cartoons after 12 seasons. Trailer Park Boys: The Animated Series will pick up where the twelfth season left off and continue the adventures of Ricky, Julian, Bubbles and the rest of the gang as their new animated selves.

Netflix Stand-up Comedy Specials Jimmy Carr: The Best of Ultimate Gold Greatest Hits comes March 12

Jimmy Carr’s second Netflix special, The Best of Ultimate Gold Greatest Hits, promises to showcase the downright unadulterated one-liners that made Carr a star. Carr also currently hosts Netflix’s The Fix, which premiered last year.

Amy Schumer Growing comes March 19

In an Instagram post, Amy Schumer called her new special, Growing, “the best special I have ever done.” Schumer recorded the special during her current pregnancy and gets deep in the special about pregnancy, motherhood, and married life. Hopefully it’s better than The Leather Special.

Nate Bargatze: The Tennessee Kid coming March 26

Not much has been revealed about Nate Bargatze’s first solo Netflix special, but the clean-cut southern comic was a hit on Netflix’s 2018 comedy collection, The Standups.

Netflix Original Movies The Dirt comes March 22


The Dirt is a comedy biopic about the band Mötley Crüe. With performances from Machine Gun Kelly, Pete Davidson, and Tony Cavalero the film is gearing up to be a pretty wild ride.

Movies Coming To Netflix You’ve Seen But Want to Watch Again

Budapest comes March 1
Junebug comes March 1
Music and Lyrics comes March 1
Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist comes March 1
Stuart Little comes March 1
Wet Hot American Summer comes March 1
Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams comes March 8
Dry Martina comes March 15
Kung Fu Hustle comes March 15
Tucker and Dale vs. Evil comes March 29

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Bo Burnham casts Jaboukie Young-White, Danielle Macdonald in next movie

Thu, 02/21/2019 - 12:37

Bo Burnham will follow his Eighth Grade success with a comedy starring Jaboukie Young-White and Danielle Macdonald. The two actors are in negotiations to appear in the film, which Burnham will produce alongside Chris Storer. Burnham wrote the film and Amy York Rubin will direct.

Originally titled Gay Kid and Fat Chick, the comedy-drama will revolve around two costumed vigilante outcasts (The Beaver and Gold Bitch) who seek revenge on high school bullies. Paramount Players acquired the script in 2013 when the film made the Black List—a list of Hollywood’s best unproduced screenplays. The project is currently untitled as it decides on a more =ahem= palatable name.

Burnham is coming off his debut film’s critical success. He remarkably won the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Original Screenplay and the Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding First-Time Feature. Eighth Grade was the only film this year to win an award from both of the prestigious entities—and it’s not even nominated for an Oscar.

Jaboukie Young-White, Danielle Macdonald to lead Gay and Fat comedy

Young-White is presumably the “gay kid” in the upcoming film. The 24-year-old Chicago native is the newest member of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. The stand-up comedian has shown his acting chops on HBO’s Crashing season premiere—the episode is even named after him. Young-White also appeared in Set It Up and Rough Night, also starring Burnham.

That leaves Macdonald as the “fat chick.” She is the break-out star of Patti Cake$, about a down-and-out aspiring rapper. The Australian actor also recently appeared in two Netflix originals: Bird Box with Sandra Bullock and Dumplin’ with Jennifer Aniston.

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The Lonely Island will start first-ever tour at Bonnaroo

Wed, 02/20/2019 - 17:02

The Lonely Island is launching a two-week tour of the East Coast and Midwest this June. So you can start making your summer travel plans to Minneapolis now.

The Emmy-winning trio, who rose to fame on Saturday Night Live, will perform at the prestigious Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Tennessee on June 15. Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, and Jorma Taccone will then start their first major tour in Washington, D.C. on June 18.

The Lonely Island thrives after Saturday Night Live

The long-time friends from middle school collaborated with Adam McKay to help create the SNL Digital Short series which spawned many SNL classics. No one can forget the comically-censored video for their 2006 collaboration with Justin Timberlake: Dick in a Box. That song won a Creative Arts Emmy for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics. Their 2009 T-Pain collaboration I’m on a Boat went double-platinum and earned a Grammy Award nomination for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. The catchy theme song that they co-wrote for The Lego Movie, called Everything is Awesome, was even nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Song—which they also performed at the Academy Awards ceremony.

The pop-locking, gold chain-wearing musicians also wrote, directed, and starred in feature films Hot Rod and Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping. The films were a long way from the short films that the three friends made right after college and posted on the internet using borrowed equipment. While all three eventually worked as writers for SNL, Samberg is probably the most well-recognized because he was also a cast member on the show.

Die-hard fans can register for pre-sale ticket notifications now through Sunday, February 24 at 10:00 p.m. PT. Pre-sale tickets will be available from February 26 – February 28. General sale tickets will be available on March 1 on Ticketmaster’s website. Bonnaroo tickets are already available for sale.

Check out all of their hit songs in the tour announcement video.

The Lonely Island 2019 Tour Dates

June 15 – Bonnaroo in Manchester, TN
June 18 – The Anthem in Washington, D.C.
June 19 – The Met Philadelphia in Philadelphia, PA
June 21 – TBA – New York City
June 22 – Kings Theater in Brooklyn, NY
June 24 – Rockland Trust Bank Pavilion in Boston, MA
June 26 – Fox Theatre in Detroit, MI
June 29 – The Armory in Minneapolis, MN

 

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We are gonna do our first ever tour of the east coast / midwest after Bonnaroo in June!!! ——- INFO——— Register now for the Verified Fan presale to get access to purchase tickets before the general on sale https://verifiedfan.ticketmaster.com/thelonelyisland

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Jussie Smollett hoax story gets The Daily Show treatment

Wed, 02/20/2019 - 14:06

Daily Show Senior Culture Correspondent Jaboukie Young-White is ready for the role of a Lifetime. Or at least a role on Lifetime. On Tuesday night’s Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Young-White notes his similarities to Jussie Smollett: they are both black, gay, and actors.

While Trevor Noah does not think that the two look alike, Young-White says, “to white people I do and hopefully to whoever is casting the Jussie Smollett Lifetime movie.” Young-White is also available to take over Smollett’s role on Empire.

Smollett made waves in the news after posting a since-deleted Instagram photo from the hospital after an alleged hate crime. The Empire star claimed that he was assaulted on January 29 by two masked men shouting, “This is MAGA country!” as he walked home from a Subway restaurant. Since then, many—including the police—believe the actor-singer orchestrated the attack himself causing a whirlwind of controversy.

Comedians react to Jussie Smollett hoax

Some comics and late night show hosts have avoided discussing the sensitive case. Young-White and Noah analyzed the alleged crime in a five-minute segment last night on The Daily Show. Noah speculated about possible items found in the apartment of the brothers arrested for the crime, including a Faking Hate Crimes for Dummies book.

Young-White joined to discuss the situation because he is black and gay and is well-suited to cover stories like this or if “RuPaul robbed a bank.”

The 24-year-old comedian used his platform to teach the viewing audience about the case while showing off his made-for-tv movie acting chops. Of course, Young-White is, “still piecing together leads from the Chicago police department and more reliable sources like TMZ.” He explained the gay trans panic defense that is legal in 47 states. He also proposed alternative ways in which Smollett could have gained attention, such as leaking nudes or posting a death threat letter on Twitter.

The Chicago native is not the only comic with loose connections to the Smollett case. Nigerian comedian Godfrey told TMZ on Tuesday that “Nigerians are very angry.” He continued that Smollett, “owes them [Trump supporters] an apology. He owes everybody an apology. He owes the black community an apology. He owes the gay community an apology.”

Jussie Smollett goes from victim to suspect

Chicago police are reportedly working to move Smollett’s case to a grand jury, where the arrested brothers’ testimony will be officially documented. The police have requested a follow-up interview with Smollett and are waiting for him to respond.

A Chicago police spokesperson said last week that Smollett is no longer considered a victim in the alleged attack. The actor could face prison time if he falsified a police report.

Watch Young-White’s complete Daily Show segment below.

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8 brilliant stand-up specials on Netflix to celebrate Black History Month

Tue, 02/19/2019 - 14:15

Happy Black History Month! Black comedians have been an integral part of stand-up comedy for decades. Netflix has produced several specials where black comedians speak their truths about racism, privilege, and politics. To celebrate the work of black comics, Laughspin is bringing eight Netflix specials that will have you laughing (and thinking) not just in February, but all year round!

W. Kamau Bell: Private School Negro

W. Kamau Bell: Private School Negro covers all sorts of racial issues plaguing the United States. W. Kamau Bell goes from talking about racism at the highest levels of politics to how white women act when things get hard, all while examining his places of privilege and marginalization. The Netflix special came after his Emmy Award-winning docu-series United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell premiered on CNN and Bell shows just as much political nuance in this special. If you’re still not sure, what if I told you that Laughspin ranked Private School Negro the second-best stand-up special of 2018!

Trevor Noah: Afraid of the Dark


In Trevor Noah: Afraid of the Dark, Trevor Noah isn’t afraid to talk about globalization, immigration, nationalism, and race. While he peppers the special with sillier subject matters, as most of Noah’s comedy does, the special at its heart is political and tackles serious topics.

Nicole Byer, Comedians of the World

Netflix has not produced a single hour-long stand-up comedy special with a black female comedian, which is almost impressive since they have put out over 150 specials since 2012. Netflix seemingly tried to rectify the situation by booking comedy specials from Wanda Skykes and Tiffany Haddish planned for 2019. While Netflix needs to be better about featuring black female talent, they have had black female comics on their various stand-up comedy series. Nicole Byer’s set on Comedians of the World is pure joy and showcases how black is beautiful. Yamaneika Saunders set on The Degenerates is also more than worth a watch.

Katt Williams: Great America


Katt Williams has had his ups and downs, but Great America is one of his high points. The comedy special is not only more political than a lot of Williams’s other work, but it also takes on difficult topics. Williams covers slavery, racial tensions in America, and how deceitful white people can be—all while he stands in a fake oval office.

Chris Rock: Tamborine

Tamborine was the first stand-up special from Chris Rock in ten years and, after ten years, Rock’s comedy got a lot more thoughtful. The parts of this special where he talks about raising his children and the struggles of being a black father are truly profound. The special has an intimate feel since it was filmed in the relatively small Brooklyn Academy Of Music and was directed by Bo Burnham. Tamborine also made our top specials list coming in at #5!

DeRay Davis: How To Act Black


DeRay Davis is unapologetic in his special How to Act Black. There are a lot of silly jokes in the special, including many recurring jokes about how to act black. Davis also talks about Black Lives Matter, police relations and mass shootings and is a favorite amongst comedians.

Dave Chappelle: The Bird Revelation


Dave Chappelle came out with four excellent Netflix specials seemingly out of nowhere and any of the four would probably be at home on this list. However, The Bird Revelation has a very different feel to it. It is so intimate and so real. At the end of the Netflix special, when Chappelle reads from Iceberg Slim’s book, Pimp: The Story of My Life as a way to talk about his own disappearance from Hollywood in 2005, is an important part of understanding Chappelle and also a legacy of being a black entertainer.

Richard Pryor: Live in Concert


Okay, so this isn’t a Netflix special, but it is a special which is currently streaming on Netflix. If you haven’t seen it, you have to watch it right now. For many people, Live in Concert was the first comedy special they ever saw. Richard Pryor is a part of comedy history and this is arguably the most influential comedy special of all time.

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Crazy Rich Asians star Awkwafina joins Jumanji sequel

Tue, 02/19/2019 - 11:53

Awkwafina is confirmed to star in the Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle sequel. The crossover comedic actress and rapper will join returning cast members Dewayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Nick Jonas, and Karen Gillan in an unannounced, but apparently significant, role.

The casting adds to Awkwafina’s fast-growing list of credits—just for 2019 alone. She is working with an all-female writing room to create a 10-episode, half-hour series for Comedy Central, simply titled Awkwafina. The show will feature her father and grandmother and take place where she was raised—near Queens Boulevard in New York City.

The Crazy Rich Asians star received great reviews for her performance in The Farewell earlier this year. That film revolves around a Chinese-American woman planning a wedding while dealing with her grandmother’s terminal illness. In a change of pace, Awkwafina also appears in the 2019 sci-fi fantasy drama film Paradise Hills. She also stars in Jordan Peele’s YouTube series Weird City.

Awkwafina is a comedy star on the rise

Last year was a busy one for the young star, too. Awkwafina starred in the female-driven film Ocean’s 8, hosted Saturday Night Live, and released a new hip-hop album, In Fina We Trust. The fashionable, breakout star from Crazy Rich Asians earned a SAG Award nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture.

Awkwafina will hopefully bring her trademark high energy and wit to the Jumanji sequel about a video game that transports teen players to a magical world. Not much is known about the sequel’s plot at this moment. The four teens from the 2017 movie will also return. In addition to Awkwafina, Danny DeVito and Danny Glover will join the teens on their adventure. The 2017 Jumanji installment had a huge global appeal and was the fifth highest-earning film that year—with global gross earnings approaching a billion dollars.

The 2017 Jumanji film was the second installment of the franchise originally based on the 1981 children’s book by Chris Van Allsburg and the corresponding board game. The original installment debuted in 1995 starring Robin Williams.

Filming for the third installment of the film will occur in Hawaii and Atlanta through April. Jake Kasdan returns as the film’s director. Kasdan wrote the film along with Scott Rosenberg and Jeff Pinkner. The film is scheduled for a December 13 release.

 

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My next adventure, and I couldn’t be more excited

Album Review: Sara Schaefer soothes the soul in Live Laugh Love

Tue, 02/19/2019 - 11:00

When you first look at the cover art for Sara Schaefer’s second comedy album Live Laugh Love, you would think you were about to listen to an Elizabeth Gilbert-esque sage tell the story of how she embarked on an internal, spiritual breakthrough that’s universally relatable to a wide audience.

However, after listening to the Virginia-born comedian’s hour-long set, you will experience something more enjoyable and possibly more soothing for the soul than any potential self-help seminar.

In fact, by the end of the album, the listener will indeed accomplish the three actions Schaefer pokes fun of throughout the live recording: they will live a unique life by briefly walking in Schaefer’s shoes; they will laugh at her witty observations and insights; and ultimately, they will love the time they’ve spent exploring the world through her eyes.

Schaefer, a 16-year veteran of the industry, demonstrates a natural ability to immediately win over an audience, whether it’s through her witty spoken word or her guitar-centric musical interludes. When it comes to her songs, it’s not about nailing high notes or making sure her strumming is perfect. Rather, the exercise serves as a subheading would for a writer: as a means to transition from one topic to another in a way that gains (and keeps) the audience’s attention and favor.

With Live Laugh Love, the technique is masterfully executed.

Whether the Emmy-winner is examining the political landscape of our nation, re-evaluating her social media presence, or rationalizing her consumption of possibly tainted romaine lettuce, Schaefer tackles issues in a way that not only makes for a humorous and entertaining experience but an informative one as well.

There’s also an admirable honesty interwoven throughout her material, a quality that allows her to safely tiptoe through political landmines that would serve as massive pitfalls for other less savvy comics in the business. When she spends an extended period of time exploring the circumstances surrounding her trip to Hobby Lobby, she does so with a laughable, tongue-in-cheek tone that immediately disarms any potential counterpoints possessed by a political adversary. Also, the introspective conversation actually helps the listener to not only understand her viewpoint but also possibly acknowledge and accept an intelligent point of view that differs from their own.

Overall, Live Laugh Love is an intelligent and overwhelming engaging sixty minutes of comedic playfulness. The former late night host is a master at her craft and, whether it is through her words or her music, she accomplishes a feat many gurus and self-help experts seek through their various seminars, talks, and programs: overwhelming success.

Sara Schaefer’s Live Laugh Love is available now in stores and on digital platforms.

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Chris Rock will direct Saving Kenan pilot at NBC but we’re all talking about Kenan Thompson’s SNL future

Mon, 02/18/2019 - 19:32

Chris Rock will direct the new Kenan Thompson pilot for NBC, called Saving Kenan. The announcement is just one more item making Thompson’s fans wonder if he will leave Saturday Night Live after this season. Thompson holds the record of longest-tenured SNL cast member with 16 seasons to his name. He continues to express his gratitude being on SNL as reports about other cast members’ futures percolate. Rock and Thompson crossed paths when Rock hosted the sketch series in 2014.

Rock, whose stand-up special Tamborine ranked fifth on Laughspin’s Top 20 Stand-Up Specials of 2018, is no stranger to sitcoms. In addition to developing and writing Everybody Hates Chris, Rock also directed an episode of the semi-autobiographical CW series. In Saving Kenan, Thompson will play a recently widowed father raising his children while reluctantly accepting help from his father-in-law. Rock will co-executive produce Saving Kenan with Thompson.

Audiences are used to seeing Rock in front of the camera, but he made his feature film directorial debut with the 2003 comedy Head of State. He’s also directed I Think I Love My Wife and the Oscar-nominated Top Five. Rock also worked with Amy Schumer directing her Live at the Apollo HBO special. Fans of the Grown Ups star can still see him on-camera in Season Four of FX’s Fargo series and the upcoming drama film Molly.

Is Kenan Thompson leaving SNL?

Thompson has a full plate that has everyone wondering one question: Is Kenan Thompson leaving SNL? In addition to a potential series at NBC, the Fat Albert star will serve as a judge on a new stand-up competition show Bring The Funny, hosted by Amanda Seales. On Valentine’s Day, Nickelodeon announced an All That revival with Thompson as executive producer. The former childhood cast member plans to be fairly hands-on with the rebooted sketch show. “If I’m not at the table read, I’ll be on the phone during the table read,” he assured. “I’ll be around.”

Despite slowly taking over your TV screen, Thompson seems to be the only one who thinks he’ll return to SNL next season. On The Wendy Williams Show, the daytime talk show host pleaded with Thompson to stay with the Saturday night sketch show should Saving Kenan get picked up for series. Thompson responded, “You know I’m all about getting it all. I want every single check.”

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Bo Burnham film Eighth Grade keeps winning awards; adds WGA win

Mon, 02/18/2019 - 18:28

Bo Burnham shocked Hollywood with another surprising win for Eighth Grade. Burnham won the Writers Guild of America (WGA) Award for Best Original Screenplay, with just a week until the Oscars. The winner of this award is often a contender for Best Picture at the Oscars, so Burnham’s win was especially meaningful.

Eighth Grade wins despite 0 Oscar nominations

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences did not nominate Eighth Grade for any Oscars. The popular indie film—holding a 99% rating on Rotten Tomatoes—took one of the most prestigious WGA awards against Oscar heavyweights Roma, Green Book, A Quiet Place, and Vice.

While Eighth Grade recently won the Directors Guild of America (DGA) Award for Outstanding First-Time Feature, Eighth Grade does not have any nominations for the upcoming Academy Awards. Fellow Oscar bait films Roma, Green Book, and Vice all have multiple nominations. However, Eighth Grade is the only film to be recognized by both the DGA and WGA this year.

Eighth Grade is a coming-of-age film about a struggling middle school girl who creates rarely-viewed YouTube videos with life advice. In a piece for the Los Angeles Times in December, the filmmaker explained that he wrote his movie “as a tribute to the young people I was seeing online that no one was paying attention to…Real kids posting videos that no one was watching—unseen, unprocessed, unadulterated by a built-in audience, desperate to express and define themselves in real time for an audience that may not be there.” Burnham is intimately familiar with the world of online videos since his comedy career began on YouTube.

Can You Ever Forgive Me? was the other surprise winner at the ceremony, taking the prize for Best Adapted Screenplay. The film starring Melissa McCarthy won against A Star Is Born, BlacKkKlansman, Black Panther, and If Beale Street Could Talk. A Star Is Born, Black KkKlansman, and Black Panther are all nominated for Best Picture Oscars—unlike Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Barry, Marvelous Mrs. Maisel win WGA Awards

Some of the other comedy wins are less surprising. Critical darling The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel won for Best Comedy Series against Atlanta, Barry, GLOW, and The Good Place. HBO’s critically-acclaimed Barry won for Best New Series. Barry also won Best Episodic Comedy for Chapter One: Make Your Mark—for which Bill Hader also won a DGA Award.

In the Comedy/Variety Talk Series category, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver won over Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, Late Night with Seth Meyers, and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

Comedian Nathan Fielder’s Nathan for You show (RIP) won Best Comedy/Variety Sketch Series over At Home with Amy Sedaris; I Love You, America; Portlandia; and Saturday Night Live.

Finally, the WGA awarded The Fake News with Ted Nelms with Best Comedy/Variety Special over Drew Michael’s eponymous HBO special, the 2018 Oscars broadcast, and the 2018 Rose Parade Hosted by Cord & Tish.

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Dave Chappelle surprises Charlotte couple with free tickets on Valentine’s Day

Mon, 02/18/2019 - 17:41

Dave Chappelle made one couple’s Valentine’s Day very special. Deidra and Eddie Dickens from Charlotte, North Carolina were more than surprised when Chappelle approached their Valentine’s Day dinner to deliver tickets to his show at The Belk Theater at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center.

Deidra, in an effort to surprise her husband for Valentine’s Day, specifically bought four wheelchair-accessible tickets. Her husband regularly uses a wheelchair, and she wanted to make sure he was comfortable with an aisle seat. Realizing tickets were sold out, she tried Craigslist. After sending the seller $500 for the tickets, she never heard from him again, leaving her with an empty pocket and no tickets.

“They have no empathy or goodness, or I don’t know, maybe no soul,” Dickens told CBS affiliate WBTV.

WBTV teams with Dave Chappelle for Valentine’s Day surprise

Coordinating with Chappelle’s team on Thursday, WBTV told the Dickens that an anonymous viewer had donated four tickets to the show, along with a paid dinner at the Omni Charlotte Hotel beforehand. At the dinner, accompanied by cameras, the Chappelle’s Show star popped in to surprise the couple with tickets to his show.

“Always get your tickets from reliable sources,” Chappelle said as he sat down with the couple and their friends. Shocked to see the comedian, their priceless reactions were caught by WBTV cameras.

Chappelle, who recently won his second Grammy for Best Comedy Album, told WBTV he was happy to help. “It felt good. It felt like I just got to make something that was wrong right.”

Dave Chappelle jokes about Kevin Hart, Jussie Smollett

Chappelle opened the Charlotte show by saying, “We have a lot to talk about.” The legendary comedian discussed the Kevin Hart Oscars controversy, transgender community critics, and the ongoing Jussie Smollett case. During his set, reports came in that police were considering whether or not the Empire actor fabricated his account of being beaten by two men while hurling hate speech. Chappelle joked that it made him want to break a dollhouse over Smollett’s head, referencing the joke at the center of Hart’s controversy.

“If I ever get in trouble for the things I say, I’ll say it right now: I’m going to apologize,” said Chappelle.

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Don Cheadle wore a pro-trans shirt on SNL; Queer Twitter rejoices

Sun, 02/17/2019 - 13:39

People are praising Saturday Night Live host Don Cheadle for standing up in defense of trans youth.

Cheadle hosted SNL in what was a bounceback episode for the Saturday night sketch series. When he introduced musical guest Gary Clark Jr., the Black Monday star sported a shirt saying, “Protect trans kids” in all caps. The silent but powerful message was a reminder that trans children, as well as much of LGBTQ youth, face startlingly high rates of abuse and suicide.

Protect trans kids shirt raises LGBTQ awareness

Donald Trump, who promised to be an ally to the LGBTQ community during his 2016 presidential election, has gone back on that promise by attempting to ban trans soldiers from serving in the military, planning a government redefinition of gender to erase the marginalized community from gender-related protections, and bolstering so-called ‘religious objection’ protections for people to discriminate against queer Americans.

The call to ‘protect trans kids’ is more than just an anti-bullying suggestion. The world is not a safe place for transgender people—especially queer children with less-than-understanding parents. The ostracization of trans people in the media and in the government suggests to observant transgender children that their country thinks something is wrong with them. Trans teens, not surprisingly, face higher rates of suicide than their cisgender classmates.

Trans students continuously face discrimination and harassment over which sports they play, where they pee, and how they choose to identify.

Trans Twitter praises Don Cheadle shirt on SNL

Growing up transgender (or gender non-binary) is difficult enough without the government legislating against your personhood. Cheadle’s show of solidarity proved to be a powerful message for many on the internet. The LGBTQ community took to Twitter to express their joy and gratitude at the quiet—but not subtle—support.

Thank you Don Cheadle for using your platform to help save lives.

Saturday Night Live recap: Don Cheadle leads SNL bounceback episode

Sun, 02/17/2019 - 12:35

It’s surprising this was Don Cheadle‘s first time hosting Saturday Night Live since the Avengers star has been a household name for years. Cheadle brought his acting chops to every role he played Saturday night no matter how silly, which really elevated this week’s SNL. While some sketches fell a little flat, there were a lot of hits. Most of those hits came from risky or flat out weird sketches that felt new. More importantly, they felt fun! As always, Laughspin is letting you know which Saturday Night Live sketches you need to stream on a lazy Sunday using our very own super official Star Scale.

Saturday Night Live Cold Open

Alec Baldwin returned as Donald Trump to parody a recent press conference the president gave about the border wall and his declaration of a national emergency. The real-life press conference was so unhinged it seemed very easy for Baldwin to lampoon. This sketch is funny, but because the source material is so wild, it falls flat at moments and is entirely too long. That being said, Baldwin carries the sketch all by himself and gives a solid performance, as expected by the Glengarry Glen Ross star. Some of the jokes in the cold open like, “Trump doesn’t want to be president,” feel very stale, but it’s impressive that SNL put this one together considering the press conference itself only happened the day before.

Don Cheadle SNL Monologue

A lot of first-time SNL hosts do a sincere monologue rather than a funny one, but Cheadle somehow blends them both. The monologue is funny without getting too sentimental or precious. While the ending is a little cheesy, the lead up to it is very charming.

Pound Puppy

This sketch will give you nightmares in the best way. The premise of a fake dog you can have sex in is so outlandish that once it is introduced, the sketch becomes a little one note, but that note is funny. It is hard to call what is happening in this sketch physical comedy since, for a lot of it, there are no actors on screen, which works since this sketch is all about the visuals.

Fresh Takes

When SNL brings back a sketch they already did, sometimes the question is: Why? No one was clamoring for another Fresh Takes, but this is a rare case where the remake might be better than the original. The original features Larry David and Miley Cyrus. David and Cheadle play the same characters and Cheadle does it way better.

Extreme Baking Championship

Something just doesn’t work in this sketch. The issue might be that it’s just the popular Netflix show Nailed It! There is something innately funny about ugly cakes, but for any viewers who have actually seen Nailed It! this sketch will leave you thinking, “Did whoever write this not know that an ugly cake baking show already exists?” They raise the stakes, but the premise just doesn’t feel original.

Family Feud: Oscar Edition

SNL has done a lot of Celebrity Family Feud sketches over the years. These sketches always feel a little like an excuse to show off how great everyone is at impressions—usually that’s okay. This iteration felt a little weaker because some of the impressions were not great. Kenan Thompson’s Steve Harvey is always a delight and it is good to see him in the episode since he was largely absent this week. Maybe it had something to do with announcing an All That reboot at Nickelodeon!

SNL Weekend Update

This week’s Weekend Update was forgettable. Colin Jost mourned the cancellation of Amazon’s proposed headquarters in New York City, even though back in November he was heavily criticized for remarks about Amazon’s move to Queens. Mikey Day closed out the segment with an old man character whose only joke for nearly four minutes is that people over 100 die of natural causes. Overall, Weekend Update was fine but didn’t manage to bring the laughs. They should have talked more about The Mule.

Bar Fight

What a weird and fun sketch this is. The dance number to Mika’s Lollipop is perfect. Beck Bennett and Cheadle are pitch perfect as rowdy bar patrons. This sketch is better the less you know about it going in and explaining it makes it sound really dumb—so just watch this one. It is pure joy.

Roach Ex

This fake ad has so many tonal shifts. At first, it really feels like a typical roach killer ad, but the end is where this SNL sketch really shines. The intensity that Cheadle brings to his character of a giant cockroach who slept with a human woman is impressive. Throughout this episode, Cheadle really showcases how good of an actor he is which really elevates sketches like Roach Ex.

Wedding Venue Ad

Kate McKinnon plays a male character in this sketch and, when it is revealed, you just know that this is going to be a perfectly weird sketch. The stock video used in Saturday’s final SNL scene is perfect. Aidy Bryant and McKinnon are doing two different accents that are unrecognizable, but somehow it only makes the sketch funnier. While this sketch is, in essence, just a list of things that can be found in a banquet venue, the way they are described in a slightly ‘off’ manner is really funny. The more things they say, the better it gets which points to really smart writing at the core of a really goofy sketch.

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The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel: These stars just landed big pay raises

Fri, 02/15/2019 - 19:02

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel stars Rachel Brosnahan and Tony Shalhoub will take home a major pay increase for the Amazon show’s upcoming third season, according to a report from Deadline.

Brosnahan and Shalhoub signed new deals, with fellow co-star Alex Borstein in final salary negotiations. The raises are not without merit. After two successful seasons—garnering eight Emmys and a Golden Globe to name a few of its accolades—it makes sense for the cast to seek better pay.

Marvelous Mrs. Maisel stars enjoy significant pay raises

Brosnahan will reportedly make more than triple her previous salary, around $300,000 per episode for the upcoming season. Brosnahan’s star is certainly on the rise with The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Though she appeared in Netflix’s House of Cards, as well as films like The Beautiful Creatures and Finest Hours, the actress often reminds people she had to audition for the role of Midge Maisel.

Shalhoub, on the other hand, was already an Emmy Award-winning Hollywood veteran. Because of his past success, he started higher up on the pay ladder compared to Brosnahan. However, he still expects to get a significant pay raise, north of $250,000 per episode according to reports.

Borstein too, who won an Emmy for her portrayal of Mrs. Maisel’s manager, Susie Myerson, is apparently finalizing her deal. The MADtv alum expects to end up with a similar payout.

Amazon ensures the future of ‘Marvelous’ comedy series

The 1950s comedy recently took home three Screen Actors Guild Awards. In fact, it was at the SAG Awards last month that Shalhoub jokingly referenced the negotiations in his acceptance speech. “I want to thank everyone in Amazon, Jen Salke, and especially James Sterling in legal affairs—and not just because I’m in the middle of a renegotiation,” he said on stage while accepting his third SAG Award (he previously won twice for Monk).

Created by Amy Sherman-Palladino, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel has been a knock-out since its launch. Originally, Amazon picked it up with a two-season order, though it was renewed for a third in May of last year. The third season is expected to hold at least ten episodes with Amazon originally having ordered 18 episodes be spread over two. Hopefully, the contract renegotiations will bode well for Amazon Studios’s ongoing labor dispute with IATSE Local 52.

Fans can now enjoy Season 2 of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon.

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