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Full Frontal with Samantha Bee donates massive home to El Refugio for Christmas on I.C.E. special

Mon, 12/17/2018 - 19:19

Well, this is heartwarming. Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, the Emmy-winning TBS series, is donating a six-bedroom house to a group that lodges families of detained immigrants.  The receiving organization, called El Refugio, provides housing for families visiting loved ones at the Stewart Detention Center in rural Lumpkin, Georgia.

The house has 20 beds, a 20-person dining room, and is newly renovated. Bee herself called it “beautiful.” There are no hotels in Lumpkin, and families of refugees previously relied on El Refugio’s tiny three-bedroom, one-bathroom home with futons and air mattresses accommodating constant overflow. Now, families will be able to connect under less stressful conditions.

“We are overwhelmed with humility and gratitude,” said JoAnn Weiss, board chair of El Refugio. “Thanks to the radical kindness and awesome generosity of Samantha Bee and the production team at Full Frontal, we will be able to do much more to alleviate the stress and expense families separated by I.C.E. experience when they visit their loved ones at Stewart.”

Full Frontal has also organized for volunteer lawyers and interpreters from the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Southeast Immigration Freedom Initiative to help detained immigrants and their families.

The donation comes as part of Full Frontal’s Christmas on I.C.E. special, which airs Wednesday, December 19 on TBS. Below are a few star-studded promos of the I.C.E.-focused special from Full Frontal’s Twitter:

#ChristmasOnICE Wednesday, 10:30/9:30c on @TBSNetwork pic.twitter.com/NnpnbI2zSo

— Full Frontal (@FullFrontalSamB) December 17, 2018

#ChristmasOnICE Wednesday, 10:30/9:30c on @TBSNetwork @MollyRingwald pic.twitter.com/o47y2p8yUk

— Full Frontal (@FullFrontalSamB) December 17, 2018

#ChristmasOnICE Wednesday, 10:30/9:30c on @TBSNetwork @pattonoswalt pic.twitter.com/tIiMnAMJlt

— Full Frontal (@FullFrontalSamB) December 17, 2018

#ChristmasOnICE is coming. Wednesday, 10:30/9:30c on @TBSNetwork. @iamsambee pic.twitter.com/dVZ7cBiSi9

— Full Frontal (@FullFrontalSamB) December 17, 2018

Artie Lange avoids jail time for now, admits to using cocaine after rehab

Mon, 12/17/2018 - 16:00

Artie Lange isn’t going to jail but has tested positive for cocaine again. Back in November, Lange was facing jail time after failing to meet the terms of his parole. At the time, Lange announced that he would be going to rehab, but he still had to appear in court for the earlier charge.

The MADtv alum finished a 25-day rehab program earlier this month, but at his court appearance Assistant Prosecutor Tony Gutierrez compared the program to a quick fix saying, “He keeps doing Band-Aid-type remedies for himself.”

During the trial, Judge Nancy Sivilli said that the comedian belonged in drug court and directed his lawyer to file an application. This decision gives the stand-up a chance to be accepted into another rehabilitation program. If he is not accepted, he will be looking at jail time again.

The judge then instructed Lange to take a drug test which came back positive for cocaine. Gutierrez asserted that the comedian must have used cocaine in the last 2 days for this test to have come back positive. Lange denied this saying, “I wouldn’t be arrogant enough to come in here after using cocaine for two days.”

Lange took to Twitter to discuss his positive drug test and court appearance in a candid thread saying, “The judge and Prosecutor[sic]  were unbelievably compassionate,” but that when he left rehab he “had to touch the flame” and used cocaine.

That’s a prison that for now I’m out of. It’s also the reason I’m not in jail. The judge and Prosecutor were unbelievably compassionate. I’m not high. So I see it clearly now. They wanna save my life. 10 days ago when I left rehab I had to touch the flame. I used Cocaine…

— Artie Lange (@artiequitter) December 14, 2018

In the thread, he talks about not using heroin and ends saying, he’s “not going anywhere.”

Hopefully I survive to help others. And to my angel Ali and my amazing amazing wonderful sister thx for saving my life again. It’s u mom and me sis. We are still here. Can’t keep the Langes down! Ok guys. Talk soon. It’s Artie. I ain’t goin nowhere. Peace. Love u all!!

— Artie Lange (@artiequitter) December 14, 2018

Many who are following the trial have been disturbed by recent photos of the Crashing star.Nj.com reported that the comedian had to have surgery on his nose after years of snorting cocaine and heroin including one time where he accidentally snorted glass which had gotten into smashed OxyContin tablets. His nose now has no septum which explains the deflated look. Earlier this month, the stand-up tweeted out a photo of himself and made reference to his nose.

Woke up clean! My nose is fucked. Gotta accept it. But I’m alive & blessed w a gig 2nite & many more. My 3rd season on ⁦@CrashingHBO⁩ starts Jan 20! My 3rd book “Wanna Bet?” Is still out. I’m taping my 4th Special at a unique venue & I have the best fans! Life’s Good! 143 pic.twitter.com/pQUCHmXnXn

— Artie Lange (@artiequitter) December 8, 2018

Fans were startled this weekend when Lange tweeted out a photo of himself asking for a hug which some saw as a cryptic message.

Cmon guys It’s Artie. Come give me a hug. I fucked up again. But I’m a fuck up. It’s what we do. But I’m never gonna give up. Don’t u give up on me’. U fans. Ur all I got. And I’m lucky. Ur the best. Now get over here! Hug me Gnite. 143. PeAce. Out. pic.twitter.com/QBNgjq0Ys6

— Artie Lange (@artiequitter) December 15, 2018

We at Laughspin hope that Artie is getting the help and support he needs.

Pete Davidson SNL absence caused by skipped rehearsals; celebrities concerned about mental health

Mon, 12/17/2018 - 14:53

Pete Davidson had a hard week last week. Many started to worry about the comedian’s mental health after he posted to Instagram what seemed to be suicidal thoughts. Davidson was then suspiciously absent from this past weekend’s Saturday Night Live. He only appeared for one line, to introduce musical guest Miley Cyrus and had a small cameo in a pre-recorded sketch. This came after a whirlwind weekend leading many fans and celebrities alike to ask, “Is Pete Davidson okay?”

On Saturday morning, Davidson uploaded a distressing post to his Instagram and then promptly deleted his recently revived social media account. This is not the first time that the young SNL star has deleted his Instagram, but the content of the last post caused many to worry that Davidson was contemplating suicide.

The post raised enough alarms for the NYPD to perform a wellness check. The officer on the scene reportedly could speak to Davidson and the department has confirmed to NBC that he was at work and fine.  

I just tried to text and call him, his phone is not on or out of cell coverage.

Does anybody know his location? NY or LA? https://t.co/lsJI35p532

— Jon Cryer (@MrJonCryer) December 15, 2018

Many celebrities tweeted their worries, which ranged from general support to active requests for someone to check on him. TMZ reported that his former fiancé Ariana Grande tried to check on him as well saying, “She rushed to 30 Rock to comfort him over the weekend,” but Davidson refused to see her. Sources say that his security team would not let Grande see him at Davidson’s request.

TMZ also reported the SNL production staff said that the reason he was largely absent from Saturday night’s show was that he had missed rehearsals and had to be cut from sketches. They also reported that Davidson stayed in his dressing room for most of the taping. He reportedly emerged during a commercial break to ask another cast member, “Can I just give you a hug?”

Davidson has been open about being diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder or BPD including a very vulnerable appearance on WTF with Marc Maron. BPD is a hard disease to define because it is diagnosed by actions the patient takes and not from any physical symptoms. The DSM-5 classifies it as “a pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image and affects, and marked impulsivity beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts.” These contexts include, sadly, recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats or self-mutilating behavior.

Unfortunately, while research is being done on the disorder, there is no cure for BPD. The Psychiatric Times wrote back in 2006, “It is rare to find patients with BPD who have never shown any suicidal behavior,” and that about 10% of patients with BPD will die from suicide.

From Jada Pinkett Smith to Glenn Beck, celebrities have been posting about their own struggles with suicidal thoughts in support of Davidson. Many celebrities have been rumored to have BPD, but Davidson has been more open than most about his disorder. Early this month in a now-deleted Instagram post, Davidson said, “I’ve spoken about BPD and being suicidal publicly only in the hopes that it will help bring awareness and help kids like myself who don’t want to be on this earth.”

Hopefully, Davidson will keep speaking out and stay on this earth to battle these thoughts for many years to come.

When people make us laugh and are obviously good people, something rises in us to help them. @petedavidson is open about his illness and that is awesome. My mom was mentally ill, loved her highs AND her lows and hated her medication. We gotta understand better. Hang tough Pete.

— Christmas Titus (@TitusNation) December 17, 2018

[If you are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). You can find a list of additional resources at SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources.]

7 true crime podcasts that make murder sound hilarious

Mon, 12/17/2018 - 12:57

Comedy has found an unlikely bedfellow: true crime. And America is loving it! The two don’t seem to go together, but more and more true crime comedies are popping up and making audiences laugh along to horrible stories of murder and mayhem. In the genre of true crime comedy, podcasts are king. There are hundreds of podcasts dedicated to telling stories about serial killers, survivors, and horror. Laughspin has made a list of all the ones you should try out as you sit in your kitchen staring lovingly at the knives.

My Favorite Murder

Probably the most popular podcast on this list, Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark host this feminist and hysterical true crime podcast. My Favorite Murder has always been popular, starting at #25 on the Apple Podcasts charts back in 2016 and peaking at #3 earlier this year. They don’t get into the super gross details and aren’t too intense when it comes to research. This makes it a great starter podcast if you aren’t sure if you are addicted to true crime yet. They just started a podcast network so there’s even more MFM related content coming!

Last Podcast on the Left

One of the OG comedy crime podcasts, Last Podcast of the Left is not for the faint of heart. From rape jokes to really specific details, Last Podcast on the Left can get pretty intense for some listeners. However, no true crime comedy podcast has better research. Starring podcast host Ben Kissel, podcast researcher Marcus Parks, and comedian and actor Henry Zebrowski, the podcast has grown into its own Las Podcast Network with shows such as Sex And Other Human Activities and The Adventures of Danny and Mike.

A Very Fatal Murder

Maybe comedy with real crimes is too much for some listeners. The Onion’s A Very Fatal Murder is a parody of podcasts like Serial or Someone Knows Something. It goes in depth into the fictional murder of Hayley Price and her small town. There are several true crime satire podcasts that are exceptionally good. After binging this one, check out Done Disappeared for your fake true crime needs.

 

All Killa No Filla

If you like MFM, but you thought to yourself, “What if they were more Brittish?” All Killa No Filla is for you. This podcast started out very rough, especially when it comes to audio quality, but has rapidly improved to become very much worth your cellular bandwidth.

Small Town Murder

Comedians James Pietragallo and Jimmie Whisman host this podcast which looks into how small towns react to murder. With engaging live shows, the hosts bring Small Town Murder to regionally specific locations to engage with fans who know these small towns.

 

And That’s Why We Drink

Every episode of And That’s Why We Drink is hosted by Christine Schiefer, Em Schulz, and boxed wine. This podcast covers more than just true crime. They do ghost stories, weird happenings, murders, and more. However, no matter the topic it’s always spooky and the hosts are always more than a little tipsy. If you love drunk people and true crime, there is also Wine & Crime, which features it’s own wine pairings so you can drink along.

Criiime

From comedians Rich Slaton and Jon Shefsky, Criiime  often changes up its format. It is always crime and always comedy, but episodes sometimes are recorded on the go from other countries, have special guests, or are even missing one of the hosts.

David Letterman series may be the talk show Netflix has been looking for

Mon, 12/17/2018 - 10:00

David Letterman and his Netflix talk show (and his massive retirement beard) will return for a second season in 2019. My Next Guest Needs No Introduction debuted in January releasing one episode per month (and two in May). Letterman, who decided he didn’t want to work on Fridays when hosting Late Show on CBS, continues to work on his own terms. Six interviews a year and recording some field segments is not a bad gig, especially when you’re making that sweet, sweet Netflix money.

The renewal keeps Letterman in a hosting chair for another year since his CBS departure. Talk shows have not fared well on Netflix, though the streaming giant seems committed to finding a traditional weekly variety show that appeals to a binge-watching audience. Multiple weekly talk shows have tried and failed to capture the adoration of viewers. The Break with Michelle Wolf, The Joel McHale Show, and Chelsea could not stick around for too long before being canceled. Norm Macdonald Has a Show dumped all 10 episodes on the same day in September and its future has yet to be announced. Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj received a very hefty 32-episode order to start and time will tell if it can become a regular part of Netflix subscribers’ viewing habits.

Nearly every episode of My Next Guest Needs No Introduction made headlines in 2018. It helps when you only book the biggest of the biggest celebrities in the world. Letterman’s first season featured interviews with former president Barack Obama, JAY-Z, Malala Yousafzai, George Clooney, Tina Fey, and Howard Stern. Interviewing has always been one of his major strengths, which would explain why we rarely see the field segments show up in a Huffington Post piece. Letterman has been able to pull genuine, sometimes vulnerable, moments out of his A-plus-list guests.

No names have been announced for the second season, but fans can trust the bar will be high for the caliber of celebrity joining Letterman as he avoids being put to pasture just a bit longer.

Saturday Night Live recap: Matt Damon, celebrity impressions close out SNL’s 2018

Sun, 12/16/2018 - 15:55

Last night was the final Saturday Night Live of 2018 and the crew went out on a good one. Matt Damon came back for the first time in over a decade to host. Though he had come back earlier in the season to play Brett Kavanaugh, he really got to shine this week. He brought the kind of commitment to hosting that showed how much he really loves SNL. He is in more sketches than the average host—including the cold open, Weekend Update, and a pre-taped sketch that was cut for time. Laughspin is here to round up what the best of the best sketches were using our very own not-ready-for-primetime star scale. Let us know if you disagree in the comments and we will see you in 2019!

It’s a Wonderful Life (Cold Open)

Doing an It’s a Wonderful Life sketch isn’t exactly original, but this one works very well. The twist at the end is fun and the parody shakes up the sometimes-repetitive politics the cold open frequently takes. This sketch won’t be your favorite of the night, but it is good for what it is.

Monologue

This monologue is not exactly funny, but it is really sweet that you can tell it means so much to Damon. It works especially well in a Christmas episode since it already feels like a time to be nostalgic. It is always a little hard to rate monologues that aren’t funny on purpose, but Damon really sells this one.

The Daddy Show

It is amazing that this sketch came on so early. It is both wonderful and horrifying if you think about the premise for a second too long. The sketch centers around a dog show for daddies. In context, this could have been really uncomfortable given that Damon had just talked about his father’s passing and being a dad himself. The ending isn’t exactly a surprise, but the sketch is just pure absurdist fun.

Best Christmas

They have done this premise before and it is never anything new. The parents reminisce fondly on a day that is otherwise terrible. It is a simple premise that is always funny through its pre-taped juxtapositions. The idea, though often repeated, is still funny. Though I would argue the Mother’s Day version is better.

Christmas Ornaments

Overall, this sketch is very good. It is silly and has a great use of green screen towards the end. Aidy Bryant shines even though she is almost completely covered up.

Oscar Host

Every time they do one of these audition sketches, it is just a reason to show off everyone’s impression skills. It’s amazing every time. Damon surprisingly does some good impressions and the cast members are flawless. I would watch a full Oscars ceremony hosted by Melissa Villaseñor as Sarah Silverman. Given that the Academy still hasn’t hired a new host, you could say there’s a chance.

Jingle Bells

This one is weird because it is more impressive than it is funny. Damon and Cecily Strong’s banter is funny, but the song itself is actually just hard to sing. There are pans to the crowd in the beginning, but by the end, they have stopped showing the audience which is too bad because seeing reactions to the song could have made this sketch funnier.

Weekend Update

The best part of Weekend Update this week was the return of the Every Girlfriend from a Boxing Movie character played by Heidi Gardner. While she is usually a little one-note, finally meeting her boxer boyfriend is really funny and takes the character to a new level. Michael Che and Colin Jost also swap jokes for a change. Che reads jokes written for him by Jost and Jost reads ones written by Che. While it is an audience favorite, it is kind of cheap laugh. Che makes Jost say something racist and Jost just kind of writes sex jokes. Jost doesn’t push it far enough with the things that he makes Che say, so it feels a bit one-sided. This was really a toss-up between three and four stars, but it gets the lower score for the jokes at the top and a segment that is called Where is Wes? which is too long for what it is.

Weezer

In all fairness, this reviewer knows a lot about Weezer (I was 12 at the exact right time to think Perfect Situation was very deep), and I am not sure this would be funny if you didn’t know about Weezer. That being said, this is a weird and funny sketch that is so simple and yet so specific.

Cop Christmas

This sketch goes on far too long and you will find yourself asking, “Why is Alec Baldwin here?” It is a funny enough premise, but not executed as well as it could be. Half of the cast is doing a Boston accent and half aren’t. In an episode that has a lot of jokes about Boston, this one falls a little behind the pack.

Happy Christmas, Britain

This sketch seemed to get cut for time live. It seems like maybe someone told the cast members before they went on that this might need to end early because there is an awkwardness to it. The jokes are a little easy and don’t actually feel very Brittish at times. Not sure if cutting it for time saves the audience or ruins the sketch, but the final product just doesn’t feel right.

Jerry Seinfeld: Kevin Hart is gonna be fine (Video)

Fri, 12/14/2018 - 19:01

Jerry Seinfeld is the latest comedian weighing in on the controversy surrounding Kevin Hart and the Academy Awards. And the sitcom star thinks the Oscars, not Hart, got hurt the most by the Night School star’s decision to step down as host.

Seinfeld recently spoke with Willie Geist for a Today interview that will air on Sunday. A newly released clip from the sit-down shows Geist asking Seinfeld about Hart coming under fire for years-old homophobic tweets. The tweets came to light after Hart was announced as the host for the 2019 Oscars. After facing several days of social media scrutiny, Hart ultimately withdrew from the job.

Seinfeld told Geist that Hart is “a brilliant comedian” who “didn’t have to step down.” Seinfeld then added, “Who got screwed in that deal? I think Kevin’s gonna be fine. But find another Kevin Hart, that’s not so easy. He’s a brilliant guy with a movie career.”

Seinfeld also commented on the delicate balance comedians often have to make between being funny and being offensive. “Most of the time, comedians, we are expected to be the most agile in terms of how we think and construct our thoughts and what comes out of our mouth,” he said. “We have been navigating these slalom gates forever. ”

Seinfeld noted that the rules are frequently changing when it comes to what comedians can and cannot say. And if comedians want to advance their careers, they have to play along.

“When I started out, there were dirty comedians,” he continued. “‘Well, if you want to get on The Tonight Show or if you want to get on TV, you can’t use any of those words. All those words are out.’ And a lot of us went, ‘Okay. I still want to play, I’ll play.’ ‘Oh here’s the new rule, we’re cutting this out.’ ‘Okay, I’ll get around that.’ So that’s our thing. It’s like Lindsay Vonn, wherever you put the gates, I’m gonna make them. I’m gonna make the gates. That’s the gig.”

Black-ish, The Goldbergs get season extensions as ABC displays confidence in comedy slate

Fri, 12/14/2018 - 16:17

ABC seems pretty happy with their comedies. The alphabet network has ordered additional episodes for black-ish, The Goldbergs, The Conners, The Kids Are Alright, and Single Parents.

Black-ish and The Goldbergs are some of the network’s senior sitcoms, with black-ish continuing to garner critical and popular praise. Now in its fifth season, the Anthony Anderson comedy will get an additional two episodes for a total of 24. The Goldbergs get just one more for its sixth season starring Jeff Garlin.

Freshman series The Kids Are Alright comes from the mind of Tim Doyle. The show, which he also narrates, is set in the 1970s following a traditional Irish-Catholic family, the Clearys, in one of America’s most turbulent decades.

The other freshman comedy getting an extra episode is Single Parents starring Saturday Night Live alum Taran Killam. Killam’s character Will is a divorced man in his 30s super focused on raising his daughter. Other parents in the PTA (Leighton Meester, Brad Garrett, Kimrie Lewis, and Jake Choi) decide to help Will get back into the dating scene.

The Goldbergs, The Kids Are Alright, and Single Parents will air a total of 23 episodes this season.

The Conners, bred out of an abrupt cancellation of the Roseanne revival, is apparently working on a Season 2 (if we don’t count that 9-episode Roseanne season). Deadline reports that negotiations are underway to do a 13-episode second season and that ABC very much wants to make it happen.

The spin-off averages 10.2 million total viewers and the #1 new comedy on TV. The biggest kinks in the negotiations will be John Goodman and Sara Gilbert’s schedules. Goodman, who recently said that the show is great without Roseanne Barr, is a highly in-demand actor who just completed Captive State and last year appeared in three feature films (voicing roles in another three). In addition to the new ABC series, Gilbert is in pre-production on Weird City, Jordan Peele’s sci-fi comedy for YouTube Premium.

The other comedies on ABC include critical favorite Fresh Off the Boat and perennial Emmy winner Modern Family. Reports suggest Modern Family will do one final 11th season as the adult in the cast attempt to finalize their deals.

The renewal news displays ABC’s confidence in their comedies, which are rounded out by American Housewife, Splitting Up Together, and Speechless. Unlike other networks boasting peacock logos, it must be a relief for ABC to know the world isn’t going to end after their powerhouse comedy inevitably goes off the air.

Natasha Lyonne Netflix series boasts all-female writing and directing team

Fri, 12/14/2018 - 15:15

Netflix announced a premiere date for the upcoming Natasha Lyonne series Russian Doll. The dark comedy series is set to debut on February 1. Netflix confirmed the news in a video posted Friday morning.

Lyonne, who previously played Nicky Nichols on Orange is the New Black, is both the star and the executive producer of Russian Doll. Lyonne plays Nadia, a young woman who is the guest of honor at a never-ending party in New York City. Cindy Holland, the Vice President of Original Content for Netflix, previously described the show as “an ambitious and uniquely formatted comedy that will have viewers guessing as much as they will be laughing.”

Other announced cast members include Yul Vazquez, Greta Lee, Charlie Barnett, and Elizabeth Ashley, with Lyonne’s OITNB co-star Dascha Polanco and Chloë Sevigny set to guest star.

Amy Poehler and Leslye Headland are co-creators of Russian Doll, and both Lyonne and Headland serve as directors, as well. Jamie Babbit also serves as director. In fact, the entire writing and directing team is made up of women.

“So excited to get cracking with the intensely brilliant Leslye Headland, the GOAT with a heart of gold Amy Poehler, and Netflix, the safe haven I’ve been searching for since the ’80s,” said Lyonne in a previous statement. “Deeply moved to work with such heavy hitters and to share our show with the world.”

Life’s a bitch and then you die… and die… and die. @RussianDollNetflix premieres February 1, 2019, only on @Netflix. #RussianDoll pic.twitter.com/UMcqkXhBp2

— natasha lyonne (@nlyonne) December 14, 2018

The American Meme: Netflix doc whitewashes meme culture (Opinion)

Fri, 12/14/2018 - 12:19

I have a secret. I love Vine. When Vine shut down last year, I turned to endless compilations of six-second comedy on YouTube. In the right circles, you will hear quotes like, “Stop. I could have dropped my croissant!” or, “Can I please get a waffle?” Which is probably why I was so excited for The American Meme.

The Netflix documentary from director Bert Marcus came to the streaming platform last week and follows social media stars and influencers as they deal with America’s obsession with their lives. The documentary features interviews with models like Hailey Baldwin and Emily Ratajkowski, celebrities like Paris Hilton and DJ Khaled, and nightlife photographer Kirill Bichutsky (known as @slutwhisperer on Instagram). However, the most interesting people they profile are comedians. The documentary goes into the lives of Josh Ostrovsky aka the Fat Jewish, Vine star Brittany Furlan, and even features interviews with Dane Cook.

The American Meme is in many ways spellbinding, but there is a glaring problem with it. It is extremely white. Not a single black person is credited in the cast and the only black person who gets more than a subtle nod in the film is KingBach. In the documentary, Furlan says that she introduced KingBach to Vine and that she is slightly annoyed that he now has more followers than her. What the movie brushes over is that he had the most followers on Vine—ever.

Another black comedian is alluded to in the film when they go into Ostrovsky being accused of plagiarism. Twitter comedian Davon Magwood isn’t interviewed, but his name appears as Ostrovsky repackages Magwood’s content as his own.

Both KingBach and Magwood become side notes in a story that should be about them or, if not them, other black digital content creators. The Vines that I referenced earlier were both made by black creators. Black Twitter is an epicenter where slang, hashtags, and some of the most popular memes begin. And yet, black creators are almost entirely erased from this movie.

In one scene, Furlan does a video shoot eating a burrito to spoof Beyonce’s pregnancy announcement photo. She is immediately unhappy because Ostrovsky did the same parody shoot and posted a photo with more likes. The film spends more time in that scene seeing white people dress up like a black person than we get of black people in the whole movie.

The tweet that Ostrovsky stole from Magwood that started a plagiarization scandal said, “Going to start dressing like a Lion. That way cops know that if they kill me, white people will avenge me.” The film shoves any racial commentary about why a white man stealing a tweet about police violence from a black man might be about more than plagiarism.

There is a weird moment in this documentary when Cook talks about how easy it is to steal jokes now. It used to be that joke thieves would have to go to a comedy club to steal material, he explains, but now it’s all online. In the 2000s, Cook was accused of being a joke thief by Louis C.K., Joe Rogan, and others. The film doesn’t mention Cook’s plagiaristic past and never looks at why his past might be important in a film that also asserts that he is a meme maker’s icon.

Stealing from black people is nothing new in America. From rock and roll to white girls wearing cornrows, culture is appropriated often in the United States. The American Meme, by erasing black creators and hard discussions about race online, has helped white people steal internet culture. Again.

You might be asking yourself, “Who cares? This is just about Instagram followers right?” It’s important because of what Wired dubbed the “Meme Monetization Gap” back in 2017. At the time they talked about Peaches Monroee, who back in 2014 created the phrase “on fleek” in a Vine. Cut to 2017, Monroee, aka Kayla Lewis, had to start a GoFundMe to start a small business. She didn’t see any money from her popular phrase being used on Forever 21 t-shirts or Taco Bell campaigns. Even after claims of plagiarism, The American Meme lets Ostrovsky plug his wine brand. Furlan is developing a sketch show with Seth Green. While white meme makers get opportunities to monetize their creations, POC content creators do not see those same opportunities. Not even the opportunity to be in this film.

Billy Eichner, Lin-Manuel Miranda shock New Yorkers in Billy On The Street clip (Video)

Thu, 12/13/2018 - 16:36

Billy Eichner and Lin-Manuel Miranda took to the streets of Manhattan in this hilarious new clip from Billy on the Street. Miranda is a great sport as always as he promotes his new film, Mary Poppins Returns.

In the video, produced by Funny or Die with Lyft Entertainment, Eichner tries to answer the question is anyone truly happy? In his trademark style, he accosts everyday New Yorkers with his larger-than-life personality, but this time Miranda steals the show as many of the interviewees get overwhelmed seeing the Broadway star.

From a woman who couldn’t get Hamilton tickets to a guy who doesn’t know what Moana is, the reactions of the unsuspecting public are always hilarious. Eichner himself seems mystified by a man who is going to Vietnam without a plan and a woman who draws Garfield fan art.

Billy on the Street has always been the little show that could. After 3 seasons on Fuse, it moved to TruTV for 2 seasons. Now in Season 6, it has moved to online-only content. Back in September, Eichner made a cryptic tweet about a big announcement which turned out to be that Billy on the Street was back with some help from Funny or Die. Even though the show has moved off of traditional television, Eichner still gets big-name guest stars like Emma Stone, Tiffany Haddish, and now Miranda.

Watch the full clip here!

HERE IT IS!!!! New BILLY ON THE STREET with @Lin_Manuel!!!! Watch Lin and I hit the street to find out if ANYBODY IS HAPPY. pic.twitter.com/QbmScrH1qo

— billy eichner (@billyeichner) December 13, 2018

Donald Trump snorts Adderall, is a ‘speed freak’ says comedian and former Celebrity Apprentice employee

Thu, 12/13/2018 - 16:19

During a recent set at Gotham Comedy Club in New York, comedian Noel Casler, who worked six seasons on Celebrity Apprentice in talent logistics, claimed, among other things, that Donald Trump is a “speed freak” who has a special love for Adderall. “He’s a speed freak,” Casler told the crowd during his Dec. 1 first performance. “He crushes up his Addreall and sniffs it because he can’t read and he gets really nervous when he has to read cue cards. I’m not kidding, this is true.”

Before getting into the drug accusations, Casler explained his role on Celebrity Apprentice. “My job was taking care of the Trump family, too,” he says. “Yeah, Don Jr., Omarosa, Melania—it was like a freaking MENSA meeting every day.”

If you’re wondering at this point if Casler signed a non-disclosure agreement, which would effectively legally bar him from talking about such things, well, he absolutely did sign one. Seems Casler simply doesn’t care at this point. “I had a 24-page NDA, non-disclosure agreement,” Casler says. “I didn’t know he was becoming president. Now it’s no way, dumbass. I’m telling you everything I know.”

Casler continued with his revelations. “So he gets nervous and he crushes up these pills,” he says about President Trump. “That’s why he’s sniffing when you see him in debates or see him reading. That’s why he’s tweeting. He’s like out of his mind. It makes sense if you think about it. Methamphetamine was invented by the Nazis to keep the fighter pilots up all night on bombing runs. So it makes sense that Trump would use it to hate-tweet in a self centered rage at 4 am on the toilet.”

Trump’s alleged abuse of Adderall flies in the face of his apparent dislike for mind-altering substances, excessive consumption of McDonald’s excluded. “I don’t drink beer,” Trump has said. “I’ve never had a beer. And I’m not saying good or bad, some people like it. I just choose not to do that for a lot of reasons.”

You can watch Casler’s full comments on Donald Trump below.

Casler also revealed some unsettling allegations about Donald Trump’s behavior during his time working on some of the pageants he owned. “I worked on a bunch of those beauty pageants he had in the nineties too,” the comedian says. “That was a good idea, Miss teen universe? Yeah, that’s like giving Jeffrey Dahmer a cooking show. He would line up the girls on the side of the stage, and he would inspect them literally, he would stick his little freaking doll fingers in their mouth and look at their teeth. I’m not kidding, this is true, he would line them up like they were pieces of meat. He’d be like, “You, you, and you, if you want to win I’m in the penthouse suite, come and see me.”

When some of Casler’s credentials were challenged on Twitter, he was quick to assure that yes, indeed he worked on “6 seasons of Celeb App and about 300 shows since 1996. My role in Talent Logistics doesn’t have a ‘production’ cred as I am in Talent Management for live shows. It’s funny when peeps don’t want to hear the truth.”

Casler then posted a photo as proof of his work on Celebrity Apprentice.

Comedian Tom Arnold, one of the most vocal Trump opponents, quickly threw his support behind Casler.

“This guy worked on Celebrity Apprentice for 6 years,” Arnold said on Twitter. “He did the after parties & was Jared & Ivanka’s handler. Donald Trump abused Adderall on the set & it made him crazy. He even snorted Adderall. [Show producer] Mark Burnett knew it.”

This story is developing.

Equity in comedy: How financial struggles limit comedian upstarts and how we can help (Opinion)

Thu, 12/13/2018 - 13:18

This year, more than any other before it, popular culture turned its eyes to the equity problem in entertainment. There were discussions about representation in all facets, from the imbalance of power in Hollywood based on gender to an analysis of LBTGQ roles on TV to reports about the sparse and inauthentic representation of minorities on screen. Like most sects of the entertainment industry comedy suffers from a diversity problem too. Comedy is mostly white and male with a lack of socio-economic diversity. Certain barriers to entry weed out anyone who cannot “afford” to do comedy.

Comedy (both writing and performing) comes with a lot of implicit costs. If you’re a stand-up for the first few years you’re paying for all of your own transportation and lodging– not to mention paying for open mics. Improv classes — seen as necessary not only for technique but for networking — can run up to $500 per level. Commercial agents, for example, will often ask their clients to take improv classes knowing the experience can make them more desirable to casting directors. Even the cheapest, most accessible facet of comedy (writing!) eventually comes with its cost. Script-writing software can be found for free, but if you want to produce something you’ve written you either need to find help funding it, or have a few thousand dollars on hand.

I’m fortunate enough to write and perform comedy full time. Last year I made around $11,000 after taxes, but my rent is fairly cheap (for Los Angeles) and I own my car outright. I have state-subsidized health and car insurance and I carry an average amount of debt– around $6,000. My life is privileged in a way that allows me to take a job others might not be able to afford to do. Having worked two jobs through school, combined with help from my parents, I left college with minimal student loans. This allowed me to pursue my passion and gave me a lot career mobility.

Riley Auskelis, a comedian and writer, mused about the leg up money gives you as a creative. He said, “I think the biggest thing is being set up to take the risks that all comedians have to take– like moving to L.A., and all the costs associated with that like buying a car, rent and security deposits. I wouldn’t say privilege gives you an advantage on stage, but getting to that stage is much easier.”

Privilege is not just wealth; it’s stability. I know that if I couldn’t make my rent and had to move out, I could live with my mom. I don’t have to contribute to our family financially and likely won’t until my mother retires. The stability that my family offers is essentially an implicit promise to take me in should I fail. This knowledge has allowed me to take risks, like moving to L.A. or deciding to freelance full time.

Privilege is not just wealth. It’s stability.

A friend I went to college with, David McLaughlin, took out loans to pay for our private school. David and I both transferred into Emerson College after doing a few semesters at state schools to take advantage of cheaper tuitions. David describes his student loan debt as near-crushing. “My loan started at a 4-5% interest rate, and each year it climbed, eventually ending with a 9.6% interest. My loans total about $150,000 with my monthly payments at $1,050/month.” For context, my rent in Los Angeles is $800. So on top of his existing rent, David has another monthly payment so large it could fund its own apartment. On affording comedy, David says, “My loan payments were too high, so I had to move back home while my more fortunate classmates got to get a head start. Some days I can’t go to mics or shows because I have to pick up a shift at one of my three jobs.”

The question is not, “Is comedy an even playing field?” but rather, “How do we (comics and fans) make it one?” There are expensive barriers to entry that might never lower, but there are things we can do to promote equity in the comedy scene. A great way to start is by financially supporting your favorite comedy endeavors. Content isn’t free to produce!

Take a look at comedy podcasts, stand-up and improv shows, web series, websites that list open mics. All of these things require time and tools and your donation will help them stay running! Attend your friends’ events, pay for tickets, pledge to their Patreon. If they are running a free show (god bless them), donate! A dollar or two won’t break your bank, and it can be repurposed to fund something you find enjoyable. Donations are a tangible way to help make things accessible for everybody. Think about offering your couch to traveling comedians or comics between apartments. Travel expenses are one of the things that keep people from doing road work, and every time I’ve hosted somebody I make a new comedy connection I can reach out to for future spots. 

While there is virtually no way to subsidize comedy, there are a lot of small things those of us with a safety net can do to make it a more accessible field.

5 things from the Ellen DeGeneres New York Times profile you need to know

Thu, 12/13/2018 - 12:45

Comedian Ellen DeGeneres is standing at a career crossroads. The 60-year-old daytime talk show host recently sat down with the New York Times to discuss the release of her new comedy special Relatable. The special will be her first in 15 years since Here and Now released on HBO. Relatable will debut on Netflix December 18.

Through the profile, we discovered a revelation about the Ellen host: with her new material ready to premiere to a worldwide audience, DeGeneres wants an answer to the age-old question asked of all comedy superstars returning to center stage after an extended absence.

Am I still relevant? Or as she herself puts it during her set, “Am I still relatable?”

While we wait for the special’s release, let’s take a look at the top five takeaways from The New York Times’s interview of America’s favorite ‘not as nice as we thought’ talk show host:

1) Her wife Portia De Rossi wants her to quit Ellen.

Despite signing an extension to stay on the air through 2020, DeGeneres almost declined re-upping—seemingly at the behest of de Rossi. “I just think she’s such a brilliant actress and stand-up that it doesn’t have to be this talk show for her creativity,” she said. “There are other things she could tackle.” She added, “I don’t see the end of her show as her career ending.”

2) It was her older brother Vance DeGeneres that urged her to renew her contract and return to stand-up.

“After doing the show for 16 years, it’s second nature,” said the former Daily Show correspondent. “She wanted to break out of, not a rut, but a mold.”

Ellen said that doing the upcoming special was more about showing the world a complete version of herself. “I wanted to show all of me,” she said. “The talk show is me, but I’m also playing a character of a talk-show host. There’s a tiny, tiny bit of difference.”

3) After coming out of the closet on her self-titled sitcom in 1997, she fell into a deep depression.

Shortly after gracing the cover of Time in the wake of the monumental and then-controversial episode, ABC put a parental advisory warning on the show for the remainder of the season, and eventually canceled the show altogether the following year. According to the profile, DeGeneres felt “her straight audience left her and [that] she received wounding criticism from gay viewers for not being political enough.”

“It was interesting to me that I was more relatable when I was closeted and dishonest than when I came out,” she said.

4) She was a sensitive child growing u  and had no real understanding as what she was going to do with her life.

In the profile, DeGeneres shares that she didn’t think she would live to see adulthood while attending elementary school. “I just didn’t think I’d be alive,” she said. She also noted that her uneasiness might have stemmed from her Christian Science upbringing, with many memories of that time revolving around her “feeling out of place or bottled up.” The article also goes on to mention DeGeneres’ father (who died nearly a year ago) noting her description of him as being “kind and cautious, someone who wanted above all else for things to be harmonious.” She added, “He was a very fearful man. He couldn’t hear or engage with anything not pleasant.”

5) No matter where she goes or what she does, people just want her to dance.

“There’s been times someone wants a picture, and while I’m doing a selfie, they’re like: ‘You’re not dancing!’” She said of her response to their expectations: “Of course I’m not dancing. I’m walking down the street.”

Check out the full profile here.

Netflix trailer shares comedy coming in January

Thu, 12/13/2018 - 11:50

It’s almost the new year and new things are coming to Netflix for January. The streaming giant just released a list of everything that is coming to the platform for January. Netflix even released a trailer just to show off all the hot stuff coming to the site.

But between the period dramas and Star Wars films, did you catch all those comedies? If not, that’s okay because Laughspin is breaking down all the comedies coming to your laptop next month.

New Comedy Series You Can’t Miss:

COMEDIANS of the world coming Jan 1

This stand-up comedy series will introduce you to comedy in scenes around the world. The show features 47 comedians from 13 regions doing half-hour sets in 8 different languages. The groundbreaking series will focus on what’s funny all around the world.

Pinky Malinky coming Jan 1
Technically this is a children’s show about a hotdog boy and his human friends, but the trailer has a certain kind of weird out-there comedy which sometimes becomes a draw for (high) adult audiences.

Sex Education coming Jan 11

This comedy-drama follows Otis Milburn, an inexperienced and awkward high schooler who lives with his sex therapist mother. He uses his knowledge of sex from his mother to open his own underground high school sex education business in hopes of gaining popularity.

Trigger Warning with Killer Mike coming Jan 18

This new comedy docuseries follows rapper Killer Mike and a team of comedian correspondents as they explore today’s hot topics. Think The Daily Show with an aggressively-named rapper.

Returning Shows:

Call My Agent!: Season 3 coming Jan 4

This French comedy about the showbiz industry in Paris hasn’t been a huge hit in America but has gotten amazing reviews.

Friends from College: Season 2 coming Jan 11

Friends from College’s first season got mixed-to-bad reviews, which is too bad because there are some great performances from comedians Keegan-Michael Key and Billy Eichner nestled in there. The gets a second chance to impress featuring the same group of Harvard friends as they deal with their 40s.

Grace and Frankie: Season 5 coming Jan 18

This Emmy-winning comedy is back for more with stars Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin coming up with over-60 vibrators. The two will continue to deal with family, sexuality, business, and the two’s friendship.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Season 4, Part 2 coming Jan 25

Remember when Season 4 came out and it was only six episodes? Well, don’t worry! More episodes are coming. Season 4 will be the last season of the show and includes a double episode-length Sliding Doors tribute episode.

Netflix Original Movies You’ll Get Told You ‘Have To’ Watch:

Lionheart coming Jan 4

This dramedy is the first African-made Netflix original film. While other movies like Cary Fukunaga’s Beasts of No Nation have been filmed in Africa, Genevieve Nnaji’s Lionheart will be the first to be made by an African filmmaker. The film came out of Nigeria’s budding film industry and premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. In the film, a woman takes over the family business to prove herself in a male-dominated world.

The Last Laugh coming Jan 11

Starring Richard Dreyfuss and Chevy Chase, this comedy follows a retired talent manager who reconnects with his former client who gave up stand up comedy years ago when he tries to get him back out on the road.

Comedy Specials Not to be Missed:

Sebastian Maniscalco: Stay Hungry coming Jan 15

Sebastian Maniscalco’s new special is based on his memoir of the same name. The special was shot at Radio City Music Hall. It will be the comedian’s first Netflix-produced special, though several of his past hours can be streamed on the service.

Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias: One Show Fits All coming Jan 29

Gabriel Iglesias finished up his One Show Fits All world tour earlier this year. It will be the second Netflix-produced comedy special for the Hispanic comedian, the first being I Am Sorry For What I Said When I Was Hungry, which came out in 2016. Iglesias will also star in his own Netflix sitcom later next year.

Movies to Binge Again:

Definitely, Maybe coming Jan 1

Hell or High Water coming Jan 1

Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back coming Jan 1

Swingers coming Jan 1

Monty Python and the Holy Grail coming Jan 2

Ant-Man and the Wasp coming Jan 29

For the Kids:

Happy Feet coming Jan 1

It Takes Two coming Jan 1

Mr. Bean’s Holiday coming Jan 1

The Addams Family coming Jan 1

Trolls: The Beat Goes On! Season 5 coming Jan 18

Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation coming Jan 24

The Incredibles 2 coming Jan 30

Just For Laughs founder Gilbert Rozon charged with rape

Wed, 12/12/2018 - 17:48

The Just for Laughs Comedy Festival founder has been charged with rape and indecent assault. Gilbert Rozon, founder and former CEO of the Montreal-based festival, was accused by multiple women of sexual harassment and assault back in 2017 and is now being brought up on criminal charges. These two charges come from an alleged event in 1979.

After the accusations surfaced, Rozon sold his stake in the iconic comedy brand. Just for Laughs was then bought by a partnership between Bell Media, Groupe CH, ICM Partners, and longtime client Howie Mandel before Rozon publicly became the subject of a thorough criminal investigation. The festival was started in 1983 by Rozon and is now one of the largest international comedy festivals worldwide and certainly the most prestigious.

The initial round of accusations came from 10 women. In May of 2018, a Quebec judge allowed 20 women to bring a $10 million class-action lawsuit against Rozon for multiple alleged acts between 1982 and 2016. In August, the Quebec Court of Appeal allowed Rozon to challenge that decision, but the appeal has not yet been heard.

Rozon was also being separately investigated by Quebec’s director of criminal and penal prosecutions (DPCP). The investigation revolved around 14 complaints made against Rozon. Today, Justice Minister Sonia LeBel announced that Rozon will be facing two criminal charges. Only one of the 14 claims was deemed to be prosecutable. LeBel urged women to keep speaking out and while she believes the justice system works, “there is always room for improvement.”

A statement from the DPCP stated, “In criminal law, the burden of proof the prosecution must meet is very demanding.” It continues, “As a result, it occurs that the prosecutor, even though he believes the victim, comes to the conclusion that the evidence in the file does not allow a demonstration beyond a reasonable doubt, or that the facts fall under sexual harassment, civil law or sexual misconduct.”

The charges come from an encounter that allegedly took place between June and September 1979, in Saint-Sauveur, Quebec. Rozon is set to appear in court in January to answer the charges.

Rozon has been the subject of 30 complaints though some do not fall under Canadian jurisdiction as they are alleged to have occurred in Paris.

Parks and Rec reunion? Amy Poehler is ready!

Wed, 12/12/2018 - 13:41

Amy Poehler is open to doing a Parks and Recreation reunion. Variety reported that the Saturday Night Live alum made comments about wanting the Parks and Rec gang to get back together at the Smart Girls’ 10th-anniversary celebration dinner last night.

“I am technically available,” Poehler said, “I have like six of Leslie’s blazers in my closet, so anytime.” She went on to say, “We really can’t jump without [co-creator Mike Schur]. So when Mike is good and ready, I’m sure we’ll show up like good soldiers.”

Schur also created both The Good Place and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which are both set for new seasons in 2019. Prior to co-creating Parks and Recreation, he worked as a writer on the US version of The Office and Saturday Night Live.

Parks and Recreation followed Leslie Knope, a deputy director of the parks department in the fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana, as she dealt with local politics, rowdy citizens, and an ensemble cast of lovable but difficult employees. The show also starred Nick Offerman, Rashida Jones, Adam Scott, Aziz Ansari, Rob Lowe, Retta, Jim O’Heir, and Chris Pratt. The show ran from 2009 to 2015 on NBC. The show never won an Emmy, but Poehler won a Golden Globe back in 2014.

Poehler went on to joke about what her character, Leslie Knope, would be up to at the time of the reunion, saying, “[She could be the] president of the moon.” In the seventh season, the character had moved to Washington, D.C. and becomes the governor of Indiana. In the final episodes, she hits at aiming for a new, more important, and unspecified governmental position,—possibly the president of the moon?

Patton Oswalt, Sarah Silverman, and more raise money for comedian following severe spinal injury

Tue, 12/11/2018 - 17:06

Comedian Jason Saenz suffered a tragic accident last week when he fell through an apartment building’s skylight, injuring his spine. Currently paralyzed from the waist down, Saenz required surgery and will need extensive rehabilitation moving forward.

Comedians from across the country have pulled together to contribute to a GoFundMe on his behalf. The fundraiser is aptly named Saenz Spinez, and additionally provides updates on his recovery. Saenz, who had just begun a new job, was not set to be covered under health insurance until January 1. The GoFundMe will help Saenz with emergency room expenses, spinal surgery, an extended stay at the ICU (where the average price per patient per day is $4,000). As of this writing, the crowdfunding effort has raised just shy of $140,000 in 6 days from over 2,400 donors. The total goal is $300,000.

Saenz is a writer for the Steve Harvey Show and runs Cuck: A Comedy Show at UCB Sunset in Los Angeles. He is a beloved voice in the comedy community with bicoastal roots. Big name comedy stars have shared Jason’s page in the hopes of generating more donations, including Sarah Silverman, Patton Oswalt, and Kumail Nanjiani.

We at Laughspin hope he makes a full and complete recovery and we encourage you to give what you can to his GoFundMe. As per the crowdfunding page, “The good news: Jason is the kind of guy who can get through a challenge like this with humor, hard work, and determination.”

Followers, ASSEMBLE! Jason Saenz is a truly good person who’s suffered a sudden, catastrophic medical emergency but we can help him. If EACH of my followers just donates ONE DOLLAR? We fund his recovery TODAY. Thanks, guys. https://t.co/enVZYQuUWU

— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) December 7, 2018

If you love comedy and good people, consider donating to our friend @jasonsaenz’s gofundme page. He suffered a horrific accident a month before his health insurance would have kicked in. https://t.co/qet7FhnUbO

— Full Frontal (@FullFrontalSamB) December 8, 2018

My buddy Jason Saenz had an accident & has a long road to recovery ahead of him. He has no health insurance so, if you can donate, please do. He’s funny and kind. https://t.co/vv5JFpBzNO

— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) December 7, 2018

This comedian got into an accident and is paralyzed from the waist down. His insurance doesn’t kick in until Jan 1 and he needs help https://t.co/YrTWDvXSzv

— Sarah Silverman (@SarahKSilverman) December 7, 2018

Jason Saenz is a comedian going through a sudden and shocking medical emergency. Help if you can.https://t.co/hJvF3NCoD2

— Comedy Central (@ComedyCentral) December 7, 2018

4 Between Two Ferns interviews to get you excited for the movie

Tue, 12/11/2018 - 14:08

The Funny or Die series Between Two Ferns is reportedly being turned into a feature-length film on Netflix, and production is already underway. Zach Galifianakis, of course, will return as your socially inept (or rude) host.

The Hollywood Reporter reports that series co-creator and frequent director Scott Aukerman will be helming the film, and though the plot hasn’t been disclosed, it will stick to the low-budget talk show segments its audience has come to love and expect. Peter Dinklage, David Letterman, Keanu Reeves, Ed Helms, and Bradley Cooper are just some of the famous names reported to be involved in the project.

While we wait for the film, here’s a look back of some of the most memorable Between Two Ferns interviews!

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton appeared on Between Two Ferns in September 2016, and when the hallmark uncomfortably funny interview segued into a discussion about clothing choices of the two presidential nominees, things got surprisingly political. After discussing Clinton’s iconic pantsuits, Galifianakis wondered aloud what then-nominee Trump would consider wearing. “I assume he’ll wear that red power tie,” Clinton said. “Or maybe a white power tie,” Galifianakis quipped.

“That’s even more appropriate,” Clinton responded.

Brad Pitt

Brad Pitt scored major points for commitment in this interview, during which Galifianakis accused him of not showering and described him as looking like “Hitler’s dream.”

The interview takes a turn for the agonizingly awkward when the host commands, “Tell me what it was like the first time that you laid eyes on Angelina. Was it like one of those classical love stories like when Ross first saw Rachel.” Of course, he attempts to troll Pitt further by asking, “You know, that show Friends—have you seen that?”

The Baskets star proceeded to play the Friends theme song just in case things weren’t awkward enough. “I like that song,” Pitt said. Galifianakis countered by asking Pitt whether he thought people focused “too much on his looks” and  “don’t even realize that you’re just a shit actor.” The only logical response? Pitt spit his gum right into Galifianakis’ eye. Instant classic.

Barack Obama

In 2014, Between Two Ferns snagged arguably their biggest guest ever: then-President Barack Obama. Obama’s appearance was a strategy to boost enrollment on the federal health-care exchange after a botched rollout in October 2013, but Galifianakis took the opportunity to ask him, “What’s it like to be the last black president?” to which Obama answered, “Seriously? What’s it like for this to be the last time you ever talk to a president?”

Justin Bieber

Galifianakis opened his interview with the international pop star by admitting he’s “never interviewed a seven-year-old before.” And things took off from there with a conversation that touches on everything from Happy Meals and what Bieber thinks while he’s on stage (“I really wish I was watching Cops right now”) to hanging out with Joy Behar and time travel.

This Week at the Comedy Cellar shows off the unpolished part of stand-up comedy

Tue, 12/11/2018 - 12:47

As the first season of This Week at the Comedy Cellar wraps up, the show has established itself as a true look at the craft of stand-up comedy.

Sure, the show can be a little forced at times with the “comic’s table” banter, but it still illustrates a side of comedy that most people don’t get to see. On This Week at the Comedy Cellar, comedians get up and do material on current events, and work off the crowd in a way that is unique to comedy clubs. They are performing new jokes, ones that often have a shelf-life not much longer than the news cycle the topic existed in. This is not tried and true polished material. So much of what comics do never makes it into a Netflix special, but it’s still worth watching. In fact, watching someone perform fresh material can be more exciting than seeing their best hour. The show is a testament to the writing and quick-thinking abilities of some of New York City’s best stand-ups.

Specials are usually well-crafted and honed for months, sometimes years. By the time a joke is ready for a special taping or album recording, it is already completed. Most stand-up that is performed, however, is not even close to the finished product. Thanks to Comedy Central, HBO, Showtime, and Netflix, it is possible to be a fan of stand-up without ever seeing a live show. This means missing out on the best parts of the live show experience: seeing a comic save a new joke, watching someone play off the energy of the room to get back on track with their set, the response to a spilled Bud Light. This Week at the Comedy Cellar does not rob the at-home viewer of these special moments.

A great save came from Jessica Kirson during her joke about Elon Musk on one episode. “Elon Musk wants to go to Mars,” said Kirson. “I really hope he does go, and stays there, and I really want him to take some people. You know what I mean? Like, Kid Rock, Ann Coulter, my mother-in-law.” The joke gets a tepid response. She pauses, taking it in, and frowns a little. “Let me rewind and do that again and get the response I deserve,” she said.

Kirson then does a perfect impression of one of those ‘90s tape deck rewinds and redoes the joke to thunderous applause. It’s a joke save she has probably used countless times, but it still reads as fresh to the audience. The save may be old, but the joke is new, and the clip is still a great example of a comic calling an audible, something audiences don’t always get to see on television.

Of course, there are some well-known specials where the comic goes off-script—Greg Giraldo’s railing of a sleepy Rastaman comes to mind—but for the most part This Week at the Comedy Cellar is the best look at comedy a person can get without paying a $20 cover and two-drink minimum.

Many comedians spend their nights working out new material, mixing it in with old stuff. There are always exceptions—some people have their tight 10 or 15 minutes and perform that ad nauseam—but much of comedy gets performed a few times and disappears into the ether because the comic either stops working on the bit or the joke topic is no longer in the public’s consciousness.

Bits with a short shelf life are common on the new stand-up series, and that is no more evident than in Sam Morril’s joke on the El Chapo trial in another episode. The joke was even used as a promotional video for the show. Morril talks about how he’s rooting for the cartel leader to escape prison a third time. “If you escape once, I’m like whatever, but if you escape twice, I’m definitely rooting for the hat trick.” He says. “I’ve seen Shawshank [Redemption] too many times not to be on this guy’s side.”

He then continues to talk about a headline from that week about how El Chapo promised not to

kill any jurors. “I like that we’re going by the honor code with this guy,” he said. “You just find a dead body. We’re like ‘El Chapo, you promised.’ He’s like, ‘Sorry.’”

The 45 second-clip showcases just how good Morril is (he recently had a one-hour Comedy Central special come out you should all totally check out). In less than a week, Morril turned one news headline into a multiple-punchline joke worthy of being on any late night stand-up set and worthy of being seen by more people than were at the club that night.

If nothing else, This Week at the Comedy Cellar is a great insight to what comedy is really like for non-comics, even if Comedy Central is still showing a groomed ‘best of’ collection from the week. It is unclear whether or not This Week at the Comedy Cellar will come back for a second season, but it was still a success. Instead of only trying to showcase comedy in the traditional “special” format, Comedy Central is presenting comedy in its purest form: comedians in clubs working crowds.

New “This Week at the @ComedyCellarUSA “ tonight at 11pm on @ComedyCentral !#ElChapo pic.twitter.com/UptTcZaUTf

— Sam Morril (@sammorril) November 16, 2018

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