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6 WTF facts from Marc Maron’s 1,000th podcast episode

Fri, 03/15/2019 - 12:49

WTF with Marc Maron put out its 1,000th episode this week. To celebrate, Maron and producer Brendan McDonald talked for over two-and-a-half hours about the origins of WTF, their podcasting processes, and, of course, President Barack Obama. They also answered a good amount of fan mail.

There is no guest and, while Maron mentions that they tried to get a guest and the three people they asked said no, there is something special about hearing just McDonald and Maron reminisce on nearly a decade of making podcasts together. It is so special, partially, because McDonald is rarely heard on the podcast at length.

It is seriously worth a listen, but if you don’t have over two hours, Laughspin is bringing you the best things we learned from this very special 1,000th episode.

Maron and McDonald knew each other long before starting WTF.

Maron and McDonald take about the first hour of the episode to talk about the origin of WTF and a lot of that time is dedicated to how they met. The two first connected while working at Air America Radio. They met in 2004 working on Morning Sedition, a morning show hosted by the GLOW star. McDonald remembers coming in as “a novice” (he was only 24) and recalls Maron making a…memorable impression immediately. “I knew you as a comic, I thought, ‘He’s doing a show. That’s weird.’” McDonald says, “You were immediately in my face: What do you do? What are you going to be doing?”

After Morning Sedition, they both stayed at Air America to work on The Marc Maron Show. The two worked well together at Air America. Maron liked McDonald’s efficiency and McDonald describes himself as a comedy fan who’d long known the comic’s work. He saw the opportunity as “my chance to work with a comedian. You were in your 40s and doing this for years, but you seemed unmodeled….You seemed new.”

The first five WTF episodes were very different from the podcast.

The first episodes of the podcast were made at the Air America studios after a night technician secretly let them in. Those first shows were recorded in one long recording session. Maron remembers, “It was a nerve-racking experience for me.” Over the phone, they recorded interviews with Jeff Ross, David Feldman, Jim Earl, Patton Oswalt, and John Oliver. They originally wanted to do segments and didn’t tailor the episode around these interviews—they just did them. McDonald saw the 4-hour chunk of recording as a proof of concept.

There was no business model before Stamps.com.

When they started in 2009, podcasting was still very new. Apple had only added podcasts to its iTunes platform in 2005. In the beginning, they didn’t know how this would make money, but they started by asking for donations. “I was doing the bank role and I didn’t know how to do it,” Maron recalls. After they started, podcasts by Joe Rogan and Chris Hardwick hit the scene in a big way and ads changed how podcasts made money. While it was originally against Maron’s punk rock sensibilities to have ads on the podcast, he eventually realized they should do it and their first sponsor was Stamps.com.

Nick Kroll, not Horatio Sanz, was El Chupacabra.

WTF did not shy away from experimenting in those early episodes. Maron would interview people in cars or on sets of movies. But longtime listeners will remember they used to do comedy segments when people would play strange comedy characters. Maron wanted people to question if the segments were real or not. Many listeners think one of those characters, El Chupacabra, was voiced by Horatio Sanz, but it was actually voiced by Nick Kroll. The Big Mouth creator later took that character to his Comedy Central sketch series, Kroll Show.

McDonald reveals other voices behind those early segments. The night club comedian was Jon Daly; the libertarian firefighter was Troy Conrad; Matt Walsh played the homebound caretaker for the elderly.

McDonald almost shut down the podcast because of Louis CK.

McDonald never told his business partner but in 2017, he was ready to stop the podcast because of the confirmed sexual harassment allegations against Louis CK. McDonald felt they were so closely associated with CK after his epic two-part WTF episode. He was ready to walk into the studio the next day and tell Maron they needed to stop. His wife told him to sleep on it and after he did, he decided to keep barreling towards 1,000 episodes.

Maron has a special place in his heart for two interviews.

When answering fan mail about episodes that increased listenership, Maron says, “Two names that jumped [the downloads]: Robin Williams and Obama.” He continues, “Obama’s was a 3 million download episode. It changed our business overnight.” Later in the podcast, he reveals that at one time there was a photo of himself and Obama hanging in the West Wing. The Williams episode is also important for both of them, McDonald says. “He made my life better for doing the show” and McDonald regrets not being able to tell him that personally before the legendary comedian died.

Remembering Robin Williams. Here’s the 2010 @WTFpod interview. Beautiful, funny, sad. RIP http://t.co/8jUdIzqgqM pic.twitter.com/lWJUOPTfbx

— marc maron (@marcmaron) August 12, 2014

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Who is Lilly Singh? 7 of her funniest YouTube moments

Fri, 03/15/2019 - 10:32

With the news that Lilly Singh will replace Carson Daly on NBC’s late night line-up, many may be wondering, “Who is Lilly Singh?” We compiled your essential guide to the Indian-Canadian comedian who has been called the “Beyoncé of YouTube.” As well as being one of the platform’s highest-paid stars, IISuperwomanII, as she’s known online, is known for her signature mix of comedy that blends pop culture, stereotypes, and positivity into side-splitting sketches. A Little Late with Lilly Singh will feature celebrity interviews as well as pre-taped comedy sketches and other “signature elements.”

Singh is a master of the short format and a prolific creator, both ideal ingredients for a late night TV host. Networks have taken a variety of adjustments to the digital age, from premium subscription offshoots a la CBS All Access to an increased output of comedy shorts like Conan O’Brien’s deal with TBS. Singh will join Trevor Noah as the only millennial in late night, shifting the content to younger audiences with shorter attention spans.

If you’re unfamiliar with the YouTube phenomenon, here are some of Singh’s finest moments ahead of her late night hosting debut.

1. How Girls Get Ready

Singh demystifies just why it takes women so long to get ready for a night out and showcases the relatable comedy her fans have grown to love.

2. How to Make a Migos Song

Knowing your audience are either watching rap videos or filming their own versions in their bedroom is central to Singh’s popularity. Here she breaks down how to write a hit song complete with high-end props for an authentic baller video. Plus, who doesn’t like to see someone lounge on a Ferrari eating a banana whilst rapping about snot?

3. 5 Ways Parents Drive you Insane!

Jokes about parents are nothing new, but there’s something about the way Singh mines her family’s Indian culture for in-jokes and then reframes them in an endearing way that makes this aspect of her comedy so appealing.

4. How to Make a Sandwich

We all know how-to videos are the bread and butter of YouTube (pun intended), but Singh serves hers with a side of sass and some social commentary in How to Make a Sandwich. Watch below and delight in her sharp takedown of some trolls.

5. Comedy Skit With Dr. Phil Gone Wrong

Singh’s ability to satirize will make her a great addition to the late night landscape. Below, she collaborates with Dr. Phil to explore what happens when things go wrong. Who doesn’t want advice from America’s favorite fake doctor?

6. The Time My Real Parents React To My Instagram Pictures

Whilst her audience typically spends a lot of time hiding their Instagram antics from their parents, Singh often mines her mother and father for material. Opening herself up to ridicule by her folks but also sharing the warmth of their reactions makes for innocent comedy which has a broad appeal.

7. Newly Friend Game Ft. Selena Gomez

You only have to look at the success of The Late Late Show’s Carpool Karaoke to know the appeal of a host that can gel with talent. Singh knows how to handle celebrities and can bring out their softer and sillier side. Here she plays the Newly Friend Game with the one and only Selena Gomez.

The post Who is Lilly Singh? 7 of her funniest YouTube moments appeared first on Laughspin.

Lilly Singh: NBC’s new late night host is brown, queer, and a millennial

Thu, 03/14/2019 - 23:14

There’s finally a lady in late night and her name is Lilly Singh. NBC tapped Singh to replace Carson Daly in the 1:35 a.m. timeslot. A Little Late with Lilly Singh will debut this September. She will be the first woman in late night on broadcast television since Joan Rivers in 1987.

Singh is of Indian heritage, making her one of two people of color in the space. DL Hughley will host his own show starting next week on TV One.

Oh, and she’s also bisexual. And a millennial.

Lilly Singh announces news on The Tonight Show.

The soon-to-be historical late night queen was quick to acknowledge the women who came before her when she announced the news to Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show. “A huge shout out to all the women who have been before me and are currently in the space because I couldn’t have done it without them paving the path.”

As the audience cheered with excitement for a female late night host (finally), Jimmy Fallon surprised his guest with a glass of champagne. That glass also happened to be carried by Late Night host Seth Meyers. The two veteran hosts toasted the newest addition to the NBC late night family.

“Lilly is truly a star and we’re thrilled to welcome her to our NBC family,” said Doug Vaughan, who is NBC Entertainment’s Executive Vice President of Special Programs and Late Night. “She is a multi-talented performer who will surely have a great rapport with not only all her guests but also with our devoted late night audience. We can’t wait to get started.”

 

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I can’t even believe I am writing this caption. This is so surreal. What is happening? I NEED TO SIT DOWN. Okay. *breathe* I’m THRILLED (and crying) to announce that ya girl is getting her own @nbc late night show! AHHHHHHH!! And not only did I get to announce this dream come true on @fallontonight but @sethmeyers came out and surprised me as well! I’m so grateful and overwhelmed to be joining this incredible family. I’m numb. I can’t even process. This has been SO long in the making and I’m so happy I can finally share this with you. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! There’s so many people to thank and I will do so over the next few (or hundred) posts. Watch the segment live at 11:30pm est! And now… it’s time to work. It’s time to make magic. It’s time to hustle harder than ever before. Blessings

Tiffany Haddish lets Ali Wong read her DMs in Netflix behind-the-scenes video

Thu, 03/14/2019 - 16:20

Tiffany Haddish and Ali Wong are getting the cartoon treatment for their new Netflix show, Tuca & Bertie. The two stand-ups continue to soar to stardom as animators turn them into hilarious…birds.

Tuca & Bertie centers around the friendship of two 30-year-old bird women who live in the same apartment building. Haddish stars as Tuca, a cocky, care-free toucan. Wong will voice Bertie, an anxious, daydreaming songbird.

Tuca & Bertie has BoJack Horseman vibe

Netflix released a short behind-the-scenes video introducing both the series and the two stars. In the video, Wong and Haddish share the excitement for the series and the similarities with their characters. “And I love my character got ass,” the Night School star laughs as we see her toucan’s emphasized backside sashay through a park.

The onscreen friends appear to have a lot of fun with each other when the mics are off. At one point, the two go through Haddish’s scandalous DMs. Wong points to one guy and suggests he could be “a 15-minute something-something.” Her unmarried co-star did not seem equally enthused.

If the snippets in this video make you think Broad City meets Bojack Horseman, it’s because Bojack supervising producer Lisa Hanawalt is the brainchild behind Tuca & Bertie. “I watched this nature documentary, and I watched these toucans who were digging into other birds nests and eating their egg and gobbling them up. That’s kind of what this show is based on,” Hanawalt says in the video. “This is about a friendship between 30-year-old bird women. I want women in the real world to relate to it even though they’re not bird people.”

Tiffany Haddish and Ali Wong continue to soar

Both comedians are fast-rising to stardom. Haddish broke out in 2017’s Girls Trip and since then keeps popping up in movies. This year alone she voices roles in sequels for both The Lego Movie and The Secret Life of Pets. She’ll also appear in Limited Partners and The Kitchen. She also stars on TBS’s The Last O.G. opposite Tracy Morgan.

Wong rocked two incredibly Netflix stand-up specials before Amy Schumer conceived her first baby. Ali Wong: Baby Cobra made waves with her candid material about marriage and pregnancy in a signature leopard print dress and bulging belly. In addition to Tuca & Bertie, Wong will star in another Netflix original, a film titled Always Be My Maybe. Next year, fans can see her in the Margot Robbie-led Harley Quinn movie Birds of Prey.

Tuca & Bertie also stars Walking Dead star Steven Yeun and features guest performances from Nicole Byer, Reggie Watts, Tig Notaro, Jermaine Fowler, and Tessa Thompson. The adult animated series comes to Netflix May 3.

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Jamestown’s National Comedy Center made official with Trump signature

Thu, 03/14/2019 - 10:40

The National Comedy Center in Jamestown, NY is now the official U.S. cultural institution celebrating and preserving the art of comedy. President Donald Trump signed legislation on Tuesday to recognize that the state-of-the-art museum complex “exists for the exclusive purpose of celebrating comedy in all of its forms.”

The legislation that Trump signed was part of a larger bill on natural resources management policy. Congress passed that bill two weeks ago in a bipartisan vote. Senator Chuck Schumer remarked, “Comedy is an art form, and it’s a part of America’s rich cultural history…The Comedy Center is a tourism magnet and now, finally, it has the national designation it so clearly deserves.”

With visitors from all 50 states and 6 countries, @NtlComedyCenter has established itself as a world-class destination. I’m so glad I got to stop by on Friday for some laughs myself before the Senate voted today to name them THE National Comedy Center. The House vote is next! pic.twitter.com/Mt4wz4w5CQ

— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) February 13, 2019

National Comedy Center becomes comedy’s Cooperstown

The $50 million National Comedy Center opened in August 2018 and has become a major tourist attraction, with a mix of private, federal, and state support. Earlier this year, the USA Today 10 Best Readers’ Choice travel award contest named the museum the 2nd Best New Attraction in the country. In September, Condé Nast Traveler called it “one of the best museums in the country.”

While it is not technically a “hall of fame,” the museum is a destination-type experience such as Cooperstown’s National Baseball Hall of Fame or Cleveland’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The museum goes beyond a focus on comedy icons and also explores the influence of humor on how we live. The museum is family-friendly except for The Blue Room in the basement.

The National Comedy Center complex boasts 37,000-square-feet and over 50 immersive and interactive exhibits, with collections ranging from early vaudeville days to today’s social media era. Collections and exhibits include Charlie Chaplin’s cane, handwritten Saturday Night Live notes, and a hologram theater to experience acts of deceased talents. Exhibit partners include Jerry Seinfeld, The Garry Shandling Estate, Dan Aykroyd, and major studios. The Jamestown museum also hosts live stand-up performances.

Lucille Ball’s hometown becomes comedy capital

The non-profit institution includes the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum. Jamestown is the former home of comedic actress Lucille Ball, who envisioned her small hometown becoming a destination for comedy. Jamestown is located approximately 90 minutes south of Buffalo.

The annual Lucille Ball Comedy Festival is a newer tradition in the upstate city. Sebastian Maniscalco and John Mulaney will headline the 28th annual festival this August.

For more information, visit comedycenter.org.

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DL Hughley enters late night landscape next week with The DL Hughley Show

Wed, 03/13/2019 - 13:15

DL Hughley is coming to late night next week. Starting on Monday, March 18, the outspoken comic is bringing his brash style to TV One with The DL Hughley Show. The talk show will combine the usual elements of late night variety shows: news, entertainment, social media, comedy bits, guest interviews, and roundtable discussions.

Co-host Jasmine Sanders will join the always-opinionated Hughley on the hour-long show. The show seems like it will be loosely patterned after his radio program, also called The DL Hughley Show, but adapted for television. Hughley and Sanders currently co-host their syndicated radio program for Reach Media. Both Reach Media and TV One are connected to the Urban One media conglomerate. TV One is a cable network “representing the best of the past, present, and future of black entertainment TV.”

Late night TV is DL Hughley’s newest frontier

The comedy vet joins the late night landscape and if the teaser video is any indication, he won’t shy away from big topics. In the video, the Original King of Comedy asks, “How come they let a football player with a concussion on the field, but not one with a conscience?” This is bread and butter for Hughley. He won a Peabody Award for his documentary Endangered List where he tried to get black men placed on the endangered species list.

Since then, the comedian has bounced around as a panelist and host of a variety of shows including Match Game and Trust Me, I’m a Game Show Host. He even competed on Dancing With The Stars in 2013 when Kellie Pickler took home the top prize. His latest stand-up special, D.L. Hughley: Contrarian, came out on Netflix in 2018.

Will Terry Crews be first DL Hughley Show guest?

Last month, Hughley stated that he would like his first guest to be actor and former professional football player Terry Crews. Last year when Crews joined the #MeToo movement with his own experience of sexual assault, Hughley and Crews got involved in a Twitter beef. We will have to wait until Monday to see if he was actually able to book his dream guest.

Watch the DL Hughley show starting Monday, March 18 on TV One. The show airs Monday through Thursday at 11:00 p.m ET/PT and 10:00 p.m. CT.

 

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What’s worse for a black man…a Kardashian or high blood pressure? #DLHughleyShow premieres MONDAY night at 11/10C @realdlhughley

A post shared by TV One (@tvonetv) on Mar 12, 2019 at 8:16am PDT

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Dave Chappelle gives Will Smith stand-up lessons on Bucket List episode

Wed, 03/13/2019 - 12:04

Will Smith received a lesson in stand-up comedy from Dave Chappelle for his new Facebook Watch show, Will Smith’s Bucket List. But Smith’s stand-up experience is a life lesson for us all. When Smith celebrated his 50th birthday, he decided to tackle his bucket list in a series of episodes on Facebook Watch. His first episodes follow the Aladdin star as he skydives and swims with sharks—it has the potential to be just fluff.

However, in this new episode, Smith has just one week to prepare a stand-up routine with Chappelle’s help. Confronting fears and finding meaningful connections could prepare one for their first open mic or the struggles of day-to-day life.

As Smith mentally prepares, he admits that performing stand-up is even more intimidating than his upcoming bucket list item of bungee jumping from a helicopter over the Grand Canyon. “There’s nothing in entertainment that is more terrifying to me than standing up in front of an audience with just a microphone with the anticipation that you will make people laugh. Yet when you connect to people, there’s nothing like that.”

Will Smith tries stand-up comedy on Bucket List

The former Fresh Prince of Bel-Air seems to realize the true skill required to perform stand-up well and does not assume that his fame and acting chops will get him by—unlike other comedic actors flippantly tossing their hats into the stand-up game. While some comics would complain that the last thing LA needs is yet another actor trying to perform stand-up, Chappelle sees Smith as someone people can root for. Chappelle admits that “being a good dude in comedy, that’s rare. Comics are assholes.”

Chappelle offers three pieces of advice for Smith, but the lessons go beyond the stage. 1. Confidence is key. 2. Pick the right shit to talk about. 3. Be interesting all the time.

Dave Chappelle: “If they can feel you, they will never forget you.”

Chappelle adds, “If they can feel you, they will never forget you.” The two-time Grammy-winner comments on the fun and importance of being “self-aware in front of people.” The mentor and student connect with friends, such as Alfonso Ribeiro who co-starred with Smith on Fresh Prince and Neal Brennan who co-created Chappelle’s Show, to help structure a meaningful routine.

As Smith performs to a surprised crowd of friends and family at the Peppermint Room in LA, he truly starts to open up. He stops pacing and looking down and starts to calm down and embrace the crowd with typical first-timer material about his family.

At 50, Smith may or may not be experiencing a stunningly standard midlife crisis. The Bad Boys star says he wants to live life for himself. Admittedly addicted to adoration, Smith seems to have realized that it’s important to step out of your comfort zone even if it leads to embarrassment and failure.

On this new episode of Will Smith’s Bucket List, Chappelle helps the actor discover the magic of stand-up comedy: using negative emotions and turn them into laughter.

Watch the 22-minute long episode below and like Will Smith’s Bucket List on Facebook Watch.

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Pete Davidson, Catholic Church are feuding; Diocese of Brooklyn demands apology

Wed, 03/13/2019 - 11:29

Pete Davidson is in the news (again), this time for feuding with the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church’s Diocese of Brooklyn released a lengthy statement calling for an “immediate public apology” from Davidson and SNL for a joke the comedian told on last Saturday’s Weekend Update.

Davidson was brought on for a segment about R. Kelly and his alleged abuse of young women. The SNL star then told a joke comparing him to Catholic priests. “This guy is a monster and he should go to jail forever,” Davidson said, “But if you support the Catholic Church, isn’t that like the same thing as being an R. Kelly fan? I don’t really see the difference, except for one’s music is significantly better.”

He continued to talk about not going to mass with his mother and, instead, listening to Kelly’s Remix to Ignition.

Diocese claims Catholic Church is leader against sexual abuse

The Diocese of Brooklyn said in their statement they support the victims of abuse by the hands of the clergy, but not before saying, “Apparently, the only acceptable bias these days is against the Catholic Church. The faithful of our Church are disgusted by the harassment by those in news and entertainment, and this sketch offends millions. The mockery of this difficult time in the Church’s history serves no purpose.”

The statement ends by calling out SNL for the joke, saying, “It is likely that no other institution has done more than the Catholic Church to combat and prevent sexual abuse. The insensitivity of the writers, producers, and the cast of SNL around this painful subject is alarming.”

Pete Davidson called to apologize for jokes…again

This is not the first time Davidson has been pressured to apologize recently. Back in November, he publically apologized to Representative Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) after making fun of the combat veteran’s eye patch. There is no word yet about if Davidson or anyone at Saturday Night Live plans to apologize to the Catholic Diocese, but knowing Davidson, it will probably feed into a stand-up bit or SNL segment.

Diocese of Brooklyn’s Full Statement

The Diocese of Brooklyn is demanding an immediate public apology from “Saturday Night Live” and NBC after Saturday night’s disgraceful and offensive skit in which cast member Pete Davidson, during the Weekend Update segment, said: “If you support the Catholic Church, isn’t that the same thing as being an R. Kelly fan?” The statement clearly shocked the studio audience as gasps could be heard off camera.

Apparently, the only acceptable bias these days is against the Catholic Church. The faithful of our Church are disgusted by the harassment by those in news and entertainment, and this sketch offends millions. The mockery of this difficult time in the Church’s history serves no purpose.

The clergy sex abuse crisis is shameful, and no one should ever get a laugh at the expense of the victims who have suffered irreparably. The Diocese of Brooklyn strives every day to ensure that sexual abuse by clergy never happens again.

For nearly two decades, the Diocese of Brooklyn has taken this crisis seriously and instituted widespread changes mandated by the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

Those changes include a zero-tolerance policy in which any clergy member credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor is permanently removed from ministry. Since 2002, the Diocese of Brooklyn has shared all of its files and allegations against clergy with the District Attorneys of Brooklyn and Queens. In 2004, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio instituted a reporting line that sends reports directly to law enforcement authorities.

The charter also mandates sexual abuse awareness training for all clergy members, teachers, parish/academy/school employees, catechists and volunteers who work directly with children. Employees and volunteers also must agree to initial and ongoing criminal background checks and must sign a code of conduct.

To help victims, the Office of Victim Assistance provides referrals for therapy, support groups for survivors and an annual Healing Mass to pray for all who have been impacted by sexual abuse.  The diocese also started the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program as another possible mechanism for healing that may help bring closure to victim-survivors of clergy sexual abuse.

It is likely that no other institution has done more than the Catholic Church to combat and prevent sexual abuse. The insensitivity of the writers, producers, and the cast of SNL around this painful subject is alarming.

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10 tips on taping your stand-up set from the bookers who watch them

Tue, 03/12/2019 - 13:11

A constant plague upon my existence as a comedian is getting that elusive tape to send to bookers. For a comic, having a great video of your stand-up set is vital. You need it to get booked on just about everything from comedy clubs to Conan. However, many comedians of every experience level don’t understand what a good tape looks like.

I had the pleasure of chatting with a few industry insiders about what makes or breaks a good tape. Whether you’ve been doing stand-up for 10 months or 10 years, it’s important to have a good and recent tape at the ready to send to bookers. Here’s a list of tips to help you when submitting for big comedy festivals or that cool indie bar show everyone’s talking about!

1. Get into your material right away!

By the time a festival or show booker looks at your tape, they have watched countless sets. So you need to hook them right away. The best way to do that is by going straight into your jokes at the beginning of the set. Cole Stratton, co-founder of SF Sketchfest warns, “Sometimes sets are submitted where [comics] don’t get to their material until nearly three minutes in. Don’t make us fast forward through your intro.”

Remember that you have a limited amount of time to wow bookers. Jeff Singer, TV Producer and Executive Talent Scout for Just For Laughs, suggests that you make the most of your time. “Doesn’t matter if you’re a one-liner comic or a storyteller,” Singer advises. “Don’t meander with long set-ups and wait for laughs to come every 90 seconds. You have six minutes to make a strong impression.”

2. Avoid crowd work and local references.

Your tape should not include much crowd work “unless you are a crowd work comic submitting for a crowd work show,” says Luisa Diez, an independent comedy booker/consultant. “The tape should feature your jokes, on-stage persona, and your intentional comedy, not accidental comedy that is dependent on the specific room or audience in the tape.” She goes on, “Crowd work, especially at the start of your set, can tend to be unoriginal (there are only so many jokes to be made about couples in the front row), and you risk having the booker shut off the tape in the first minute just because you started in a way that didn’t make you stand apart.”

When submitting for a show or festival that is not in your hometown, Singer suggests that comics avoid making too many local references. “Jokes about a specific neighborhood in Denver may get big laughs at a venue there,” Singer says. “But they will fall flat in front of a national audience or in another city or country.”

3. It’s okay to film your set with your smartphone.

“Nobody expects a fledgling comic to hire a professional videographer every time they make a tape,” Singer says. “There are smartphones now with high quality cameras that can do a really good job. Ensure audio is crisp and bold. Make sure the stage is well-lit.”

4. Buy a tripod to stabilize the shot.

Stand-up comedian Tom Thakkar (seen on Conan and Comedy Central) recommends that comics buy a tripod for their phones. “I bought a phone tripod on Amazon for like $15 that is sturdy and easy enough to transport. Find a decent place in the venue to set up your tripod where you’re close enough to the audience so it doesn’t sound like you’re bombing, but ideally in a spot where people aren’t walking into the frame every 10 seconds.” It’s way more professional than balancing your phone atop a notebook on two empty glasses on a wobbly comedy club table.

5. Film every set.

“Make taping yourself a habit,” Diez advises. “If you bring your camera and tripod and set it up at every show you can, you will produce a lot of tapes for process (to check your performance, adjust punchline and set order, etc) but will also end up sometimes hitting on a tape that is good enough to share with bookers.” The curse of taping a specific set is real, she acknowledges. “I’ve seen comics stress out for a week straight trying to get a particular set on tape and they end up not getting it, partially because you never know how a particular set or show will go, but partially because they are so in their heads about having to perform perfectly to capture it on tape, that they end up stiff in their performance or veering off the set they intended to do.”

Thakkar filmed every set when he was preparing for late night. “I wanted to get comfortable with [being on camera],” he said. “All comics think we’re cursed the second we turn on a camera before our set, and just like anything else, that goes away a little if you record them all. Your odds of getting a tape go way up, rather than backing yourself into a corner of, ‘Oh shit, I need to get this tape on this show or I’m fucked!'”

6. For festival submissions, your tape should be of your full performance.

“Don’t send excerpts from a longer tape,” Diez suggests. “When you do that, the booker can’t see how you start and finish a set, and it gives the impression that you are not good at starting and ending your set strongly, so instead you cut out what you considered to be the best chunk from the middle. “

Singer agrees. “I personally prefer sets that are unedited,” he says. “I want to see on that tape what I would see at a live audition: the full set top to bottom. I don’t want to see a ‘best of’ highlights reel. Anyone can piece that together and make themselves appear as if they’re killing the whole time.  We want to see a real representation of your set. Editing hides consistency, audience reaction, room energy, and other factors that allow us to assess your performance.”

As for the host introduction, Singer says to leave it in. “I actually like seeing the intro and walk-on because the entrance is part of the package. However, if the host launches into a one minute diatribe before bringing up the comic, edit that down. We want to see the comic’s performance, not the host’s.”

7. Follow the directions if there are submission guidelines.

“You should be aware of what the requirements are for what you’re submitting to,” Diez implores. “Do you need to do clean material? Did they specify the length of the tape they want? Is the show about a particular topic? Follow instructions! You’d be surprised to know how often not following instructions loses you an opportunity.”

8. Make sure your tape is online and accessible with a viewable link.

“We still use the word ‘tapes,’ as in the days when physical tapes or DVDs were sent, but today we’re really talking about video links,” Singer clarifies. “When sending a link, make sure the link isn’t broken.  I’ve seen that ‘Ooops we can’t find your link’ message too many times.” You want to make the booker’s job as easy as possible. Don’t let technical difficulties be the reason you’re not selected for a gig. “Please don’t send a Zip file or downloadable file that takes time to open and view. Platforms like YouTube, Google Drive, and Vimeo allow you to stream videos immediately with one click. Use them to your advantage.”

9. Choose material that represents who you are best.

Singer recommends that “material should represent what [the comic] does best in terms of [their] writing, voice, and point of view.” He says, “The guiding force around material is really all about how original, clever, and funny you are. If 10 of your comic friends have bits about using dating apps, for example, you may want to go in another direction.”

Diez advises that you only use material that you love. “Don’t send tapes that have jokes you’re not proud of,” she says. “Not even one joke you do not love! If you don’t love it, what makes you think a booker will?”

10. Keep at it.

The biggest offense Singer has noticed during his time as Executive Talent Scout at Just For Laughs is that some comics don’t know when to scrap an inferior tape. “I understand how much time and effort it takes to line up a spot at a good venue on a good night and make sure everything goes right,” he says. Singer recommends that if you find yourself with a tape that doesn’t have clear audio, great energy, and quality video of your live performance, “it is better to let go and start over rather than push forward a flawed representation of your work.”

“Festival bookers are pulling for you and want you to be good!” Stratton encourages. “We have the really hard job of watching an incredibly large number of submissions for a limited number of spots. Just because you don’t get accepted, doesn’t mean that we didn’t like your set.” Don’t take rejection one year as a rejection forever. “Continue to work at it and submit again,” Stratton shares. “Many people have made it in [to SF Sketchfest] after submitting a second or third or even fourth time. No one likes to hear, ‘No,’ and we get that, but take it as a challenge to continue to improve. Your hard work will most likely be rewarded at some point.”

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Bill Maher: Live From Oklahoma makes even right-wingers laugh

Tue, 03/12/2019 - 10:03

To call Bill Maher “politically incorrect” would be an understatement. In fact, the Real Time with Bill Maher host wears the title like a badge of honor. In his 11th HBO stand-up special, Live From Oklahoma, Maher pushes boundaries to new limits, exploring a few “new rules” and some familiar ones tackled on his long running HBO talk show.

He targets the hot button issues found in current events, including the Trump administration, the legalization of marijuana, and the MeToo movement. Even though he attacks these topics with his usual feral fervor to a receptive Tulsa audience, he delivers an engaging performance that would also leave his political opposition laughing hysterically in the aisles.

Maher, a self-professed atheist, is at his best when tackling the touchy topic of religion. He destroys what he considers the absurdity of tolerance for intolerance found in Islam, the stupidity of the left’s need for political correctness in support of the religion, and the supposed piousness of Christian politicians. And he does so in a way that leaves even the most faithful religiosos nodding in agreement.

In fact, it’s almost impossible not to gravitate towards Maher’s unabashed honesty, his proclivity for inducing independent thought in his audience, and his penchant for leaving people more informed by the end of his show than they were at its start.

That is probably the most charming aspect of Maher’s comedy. He speaks and acts like a college lecturer that his fellow faculty despises because he goes against the grain. He doesn’t tow any lines and would rather give his students a curriculum that makes them better members of society than just graduate them unprepared for the lives ahead.

The one huge strike against Live From Oklahoma is the same criticsm he regularly receives from the right. While it’s the stalwart nature of his political beliefs that drives him to success, the unwavering tone of his observations leaves little room to include those on the opposite side of the aisle. Yes, he mentions during his performance that there are “Trump supporters” in attendance, which shows that there are many reasonable right-wingers who would laugh and cheer Maher’s left-leaning arguments.

However, his unrelenting assault of the right wing and those Maher sees as the enemy can leave many who would naturally agree with his ideas—political party affiliation be damned—in a defensive mode. And when you are trying to win over those who don’t agree with you, vilifying them in the eyes of those who support you makes for an overall hard sell for bi-partisan harmony.

Yet, one can conclude that is what Maher does: he electrifies issues into a kinetic ball of fury and then hurls it at the audience to get their reaction, which then recharges his next polarizing projectile of intellectual energy.

Ultimately, though, Maher wants you to not only agree with him but to convert to his own cult of political personality. With an offering like Live In Oklahoma, he makes a compelling argument for those on the other side of the fence to hop over and join the party.

Bill Maher’s Live In Oklahoma is available now in stores via Comedy Dynamics.

No guests. No desk. Just Bill. @BillMaher: Live from Oklahoma premieres 7/7. pic.twitter.com/ilOPEuQTNM

— HBO (@HBO) June 15, 2018

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Kevin Hart is fine; announces Netflix stand-up special

Mon, 03/11/2019 - 15:10

Kevin Hart will release his first Netflix original stand-up special on Tuesday, April 2. On Instagram, Hart told his followers, “Mark your calendars damn it.”

Fresh off of not-hosting this year’s Oscars, titled Kevin Hart: Irresponsible, will feature the comic joking about his “friends, family, travel…and a year filled with irresponsible behavior.” The hour-long special was taped during the Irresponsible Tour’s sold-out stop in London.

As we all know by now, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences tapped Hart to host this year’s Oscars back in December. Days later, people dug up controversial tweets and the Night School star stepped down despite an apology made on Ellen. The hostless Oscars did…what it did.

Kevin Hart keeps on Kevin Hart-ing with new projects

Hart toured extensively throughout the United States for his 2017-2018 Irresponsible Tour. He also made stops in Australia and a few other international locations, including three nights at London’s O2 Arena.

Irresponsible is Hart’s first special since his stand-up concert film What Now? debuted in movie theaters in 2016. The corresponding comedy album was nominated for a Grammy for Best Comedy Album.

After multiple scandals, some of Hart’s recent projects have taken a more family-friendly tone. During Black History Month, Hart released Kevin Hart’s Guide to Black History on Netflix. That hour-long special included reenactments aimed at kids and families. Hart will star in the upcoming kids flick The Secret Life of Pets 2, the new Jumanji sequel, and even a live-action Monopoly movie. However, the new show he is executive producing for FX based on the life of rapper and comic Lil Dicky will probably be decidedly un-family friendly. However, his new show at FX—based on the life of rapper-comedian Lil Dicky—will be decidedly less family-friendly.

 

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Mark your calendars damn it. My Comedy special will be dropping on April 2nd on Netflix. I can’t wait….Let’s gooooooo #Irresponsible #ComedicRockStarShit #Netflix

A post shared by Kevin Hart (@kevinhart4real) on Mar 11, 2019 at 7:29am PDT

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Santa Clarita Diet family faces new challenges in Season Three trailer

Mon, 03/11/2019 - 14:23

Santa Clarita Diet returns to Netflix for Season Three and the new official trailer hints at some juicy plot twists to sink your teeth into.

In the trailer, realtor-turned zombie Sheila (Drew Barrymore) and her still-human husband Joel (Timothy Olyphant) face a whole new set of questions surrounding their new lives together. Will daughter Abby (Liv Hewson) get fed up living with her blood-hungry mom? Is the ‘Bewarew The Knights Are Coming’ sign on the door a warning from the Knights of Serbia? And how soon after you kill someone is appropriate to have sex? With a theme of True Love Never Dies, the San Fernando Valley couple-next-door may be in it for the long haul.

Santa Clarita Diet ended its 10-episode Season Two with a cliffhanger, as the police close in on the couple for the murder of their neighbor, Gary. However, Gary is not actually dead. He is undead—or at least his severed head is.

Unfortunately, in Season Two, Sheila also ate some clams from Serbia that exacerbated her condition. Mystery couple Paul and Marsha destroy the clams. Showrunner Victor Fresco previously mentioned that Season Three will delve more into this mysterious couple. Do they have their eyes out on the Hammonds and not just the clams?

While critics generally praise the show, some critics and viewers have commented on its excessive gore. The show, featuring mounds of flesh, is definitely not for the faint-hearted. However, it is for the light-hearted with its jaunty take on…cannibalism.

Santa Clarita Diet Season Three debuts all 10 half-hour episodes on Netflix on Friday, March 29.

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Brody Stevens tattoos honor late comedian’s positive energy

Mon, 03/11/2019 - 12:05

The comedy world lost beloved comedian Brody Stevens last month. The cut-out-of-Funny People star inspired many with his unique blend of weirdness on stage and his sincerity off of it.

People close to Stevens got some permanent ink to keep his memory visibly alive each day. Comedian Eric Oligny, fan Janet Owen, Laughspin intern Mary Stevens, and fan Monica got Brody Stevens tattoos at the Shamrock Social Club in West Hollywood last week. Mary Stevens is not related to the comic’s comic but became a close friend over the years through the LA comedy scene.

Brody Stevens tattoos pay tribute to fallen star

Mary Stevens got an 818 tattoo. Brody Stevens was very vocal about his 818 area code pride. The 1 is a drumstick, for his love of drumming, and the 8s are infinity symbols. “Brody is one of the most influential people in my life,” she told Laughspin. “I will always remember his silliness, kindness, love of the Valley, and of course, his amazing drumming skills.”

Janet Owens’s tattoo alludes to a classic Brody Stevens joke. “I’m intense! I get B.O. in the shower!” To her, the tattoo symbolizes that “connections matter” and she “was happy to have felt that.”

Monica, a big fan of the comic, put “#Coach” on her wrist. Stevens loved his hashtags and was “like a life coach” to many. Oligny, who also produced the Steven Brody Stevens Festival of Friendship podcast, chose to immortalize a comment Stevens made to him once. His chest now sports, “‘You’re in the big leagues now’ -SBS.”

Comedy community continues to mourn Brody Stevens death

Stevens hanged himself in his home on February 22. He was 48. The stand-up openly discussed his struggles with mental health and bipolar disorder. The comedy community quickly swarmed to honor Stevens’s memory and remember the countless good times they shared with him.

Since the comedian-actor’s death, several memorial stand-up shows and services have taken place in Los Angeles. The comedian-owned-and-operated All Things Comedy network gave his podcast a proper send off by live streaming a final episode of Festival of Friendship “pushing positivity.” A GoFundMe page was started for the Brody Stevens’ “Believe It” Fund and has raised over $15,000 as of this writing. The fund is meant to “honor” his memory and raise money “to bring awareness to mental illness and suicide prevention.” All proceeds will go to The National Alliance of Mental Illness.

The Brody tributes reached national levels, too. Leslie Jones wore a Brody Stevens t-shirt during the curtain call on Saturday’s SNL. His smiling face covered the front of the shirt. The back simply read, “Push & Believe.”

I was glad to give my boy @BrodyismeFriend some love!! Will miss you buddy!! #pushandbelieve pic.twitter.com/GTNaMsgNVz

— Leslie Jones

SNL recap: Watch Idris Elba crush it on Saturday Night Live

Sun, 03/10/2019 - 12:43

Thes new Idris Elba Netflix comedy, Turn Up Charlie, debuts March 15. This week, the Wire star hosted Saturday Night Live to show off his comedic chops. It was Elba’s first time hosting the Saturday Night sketch show and he threw himself into it, doing a variety of characters and accents. The show had a lot of sketches that featured social commentary and current events this week—with a few twists. Some made great points; others felt messy and convoluted. While Elba always seemed to have a lot of fun with what he was doing, other parts of the episode didn’t work as well as he did. Laughspin is breaking down this week’s SNL using our totally official star scale.

SNL Cold Open

SNL often has a problem ending sketches, but the best part of this sketch is the end. This non-political cold open mocks the R. Kelly-Gayle King interview. There are two recurring jokes throughout the sketch: Kelly is dumb and Kelly keeps doing Trapped in The Closet. The joke about Kelly being dumb is funny but feels juvenile at moments. The Trapped in The Closet joke would be great if it was done a little better. There is so much to make fun of and so many ways to play with the form if they wanted to commit to a Trapped in The Closet bit, but the lack of execution is why this only gets three Eddie Murphys.

Idris Elba SNL Monologue

Elba was not only personable and funny in his monologue, but he told the perfect set of stories for SNL. He talked about being a bouncer at Carolines—which is perfect for diehard comedy lovers—and a laughworthy tale about his family. It’s wonderful when SNL lets the monologue be a true monologue without bringing out cast members to interrupt or interact.

The Impossible Hulk

This week’s SNL was full of sketches that had twists. The twist in this sketch works particularly well since you would never be able to guess what this is about before it starts. The sketch is funny and works, but it might have missed a chance for social commentary that the writers seemed to sets up.

Can I Play That?

The end line of this sketch is five Gildas-worthy, but the lead up to it is such a mess. The issue of the sketch is it doesn’t take a clear stance. The sketch is about if actors can play disabled people or people of other races, but the sketch flip flops on if they should be or not. It starts making fun of people caring about colorism on Twitter, suggesting actors should ignore outrage culture and play whatever roles they want—but that message gets muddled quickly. By the end, it isn’t clear what this sketch is saying, which is hard for a sketch based around social commentary. It has its funny moments, but the confusing structure ruins it for me.

PowerPoint

This sketch is pure goofy fun. Kate McKinnon and Aidy Bryant are perfect as behind-the-times secretaries who are trying to learn PowerPoint. The visual gags in this sketch are particularly good as Elba tries to get through their nonsensical slides.

Bok Bok

If you haven’t heard of Mo Mo, you must not be a parent or work with tweens. The YouTube horror phenom is certainly in the zeitgeist at the moment. This sketch is funny, but in the end, simple. It really all relies on McKinnon’s scary face.

Gold Diggers of the WNBA

This sketch already feels dated. The concept of gold diggers going after players who are underpaid is funny, but it doesn’t really go anywhere and the sketch ends with a lesbian joke that feels straight out of the late ’90s. There is nothing wrong with this sketch, but nothing feels fresh or new (or that funny), and the writers could have pushed the idea a lot farther.

Weekend Update

Weekend Update is always a mixed bag and this one was a long one. The segments that everyone will be talking about are Goop and Pete Davidson. The recurring segment where a Goop employee breaks under pressure was taken to the next level when the real-life Gwyneth Paltrow comes by to make fun of herself and her company while playing a Goop manager who breaks under pressure. While Paltrow seems nervous to do the bit, the fact that it is really her makes it funny and shocking.

Davidson comes on to talk about how he won’t stop listening to R. Kelly. It is okay, but a little all over the place. The end where he talks about his new relationship with Kate Beckinsale is perfect. He shuts down all the critics of their age difference in a perfect way which will have you laughing and snapping in approval.

Soccer Broadcast

Elba got to do his best character work in this sketch. He showcases his comedic timing and really commits to the character in his body language. For soccer fans, this sketch is nothing short of spot-on. The broadcasters have that perfectly British sense of dad humor and nervous energy that brings realism to the sketch. While a couple of sketches in the show relied on dumb jokes, this one is done the smartest.

Magic Show

There is a twist in this sketch that doesn’t make any sense, but it’s good to see sketch writers really focusing on the endings and making sure the sketches don’t just kind of trail off (which unfortunately happens too much in the medium as a whole.) The sketch relies a little too heavily on ‘Leslie Jones is big,’ but Jones saves it from being incredibly stale with her physical humor.

Supportive Friend

This sketch just kind of ends. It almost feels like there was more, but they ran out of time. This ‘supportive friend’ bit has its moments but doesn’t really feel like a fully realized bit. The sketch revolves around a friend that wants to be supportive but is really jealous. The premise feels like it has been done and the ending doesn’t work in SNL’s final piece of the night.

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SMILF canceled at Showtime; Frankie Shaw loses overall deal with ABC

Sat, 03/09/2019 - 17:49

SMILF is canceled after two seasons on Showtime amidst allegations against star and creator Frankie Shaw. Back in December, Shaw was accused of several disturbing rumors about sexual misconduct on set including not closing the set for a sex scene and yanking actress Samara Weaving’s shirt down after she refused to do a nude scene.

The remainder of the second season will come out as scheduled, but Shaw’s overall deal with ABC Studios, who produced the series, has been suspended.

A prepared statement from Showtime stated,  “After weighing a variety of factors, Showtime has decided that SMILF will not move forward for a third season. The remainder of the second season will continue to air as scheduled on Showtime through its series finale on March 31. We remain extremely proud of the two seasons of SMILF, and thank Frankie Shaw for her singular voice and unique creation, as well as the dozens of writers, producers, actors, directors and crew members both in Los Angeles and on location in Boston, who contributed to this exceptional series.”

While Shaw’s deal has been suspended, the studio seems hesitant to fully cut ties. ABC Studios released a statement, “Frankie Shaw’s overall deal with ABC Studios has been suspended without pay while we review our options.”

SMILF gets premature end despite critical praise

SMILF’s second season premiered in January starring Shaw as a struggling young mother and Rosie O’Donnell as her aging mother in working-class Boston. Shaw and SMILF received two Golden Globe nominations for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy and for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy for Shaw herself.

Shaw released a statement saying, “I can’t express how much I’ve loved making this show, how much I love the cast and crew and appreciate Showtime and ABC as creative partners.”

 

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sad to say #SMILF will not get a season three … i love n support @frankieshawisag – i’m simply heartbroken

Judd Apatow on Crashing cancelation: HBO told us to stop making it.

Fri, 03/08/2019 - 17:15

Crashing crashed its last crash at HBO. The Pete Holmes sitcom about an aspiring stand-up comedian will end after the Season 3 finale this Sunday.

HBO confirmed the news after Judd Apatow appeared on Conan Thursday night. On the late night show, he was very explicit that Crashing is not canceled. “We’re just going to stop making it.”

Conan O’Brien asked, “What stopped you from making more?” The famed filmmaker comically replied, “They told us we should never make any more [episodes.]”

Crashing was a hit comedy series with stand-ups due to its realistic portrayal of up-and-coming stand-ups in present-day New York City. Regular comedy pains like barking, bringer shows, and miscast auditions on the series showed the world that stand-up comedy is fucking hard. Previous sitcoms like Seinfeld, Maron, and Maria Bamford’s quirky Netflix series Lady Dynamite showed the lives of working comedians. At least for this writer, open mic-level stand-up comedy is depicted no more honestly than on Crashing.

Hey everyone, I just wanted to let you know that Crashing has not been picked up for a fourth season. I feel so grateful and so much joy that I got to make this wonderful show with my comedy hero @JuddApatow and the amazing cast, crew and writers. Gratitude and love. Heart emoji!

— Pete Holmes (@peteholmes) March 8, 2019

Crashing showed the gritty New York stand-up scene

Many New York City stand-up staples were featured on the series. Because Crashing was about up-and-coming comedians, they didn’t just shoot at the infamous Comedy Cellar. The Grisly Pear, a Greenwich Village bar with a comedian-ran room in the back, gained name recognition with interior and exterior scenes shot in the same place countless unknown comics cut their teeth.

Apatow and Holmes made three seasons of the HBO show. Many big-name comedians made appearances as themselves including John Mulaney, Sarah Silverman, Jeff Ross, and Amy Schumer. Critics enjoyed Artie Lange’s moving role as himself, a ‘big brother’ figure to the fictional Pete.

Even fictional roles relied heavily on stand-up talent. Aparna Nancherla, Jamie Lee, Jermaine Fowler, and more regularly starred on the series.

Crashing became that TV show that friends and family would see, then ask the comedian in their life, “You watch Crashing? Is that real?” The audience for the show actually grew this season, or at least according to Nielsen. Crashing averaged 369,000 live viewers, up about 4.5% from Season 2. That doesn’t count what is likely an even bigger audience watching on other platforms.

Pete Holmes faces second cancelation

Holmes always seemed nervous about getting picked up for another season, as he would frantically remind listeners of his podcast, You Made It Weird, to watch it and to watch it live on HBO. He’d frequently make mention that the “numbers matter” and that live viewers help determine if they’ll get picked up again.

This is not Holmes’s first time losing a series to network executives. The Pete Holmes Show, his late night talk show, ran for 80 episodes on TBS before getting canceled due to insufficient audience numbers.

Will there be a Crashing movie at HBO?

There still a potential we’ll do a movie, and no lie, if you watch the finale you’ll see it wraps up VERY nicely. Sort of eerie, actually. We kept accidentally calling it the “series finale” on set while we were shooting. Please watch! Sunday at 10.

— Pete Holmes (@peteholmes) March 8, 2019

Despite not getting picked up for a fourth season, Apatow floated the possibility of a Crashing movie. HBO has gone this route with beloved shows they “did not pick up but also did not cancel” in the past. LGBTQ favorite Looking enjoyed two seasons on the premium cable channel before concluding with a longer “special” (read: movie).

It’s a sad day for fans of the show and the New York-based comedians who will go back to living the lives they depicted on screen.

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Whoopi Goldberg on The View: Pneumonia almost killed me.

Fri, 03/08/2019 - 14:21

Whoopi Goldberg is recovering after a serious case of pneumonia that almost killed the Sister Act star. The star had missed episodes of The View, but on Friday’s show, she sent in a video message to explain her absence.

In the video, Golberg reveals that she had pneumonia in both lungs and was septic. The condition was life-threatening but the Ghost star assures viewers she is on the mend.

Before playing the video, co-host Joy Behar seemed frazzled to talk about Goldberg’s sickness. She said, “First, I have been starting every show since Whoopi has been out of the show, home sick, telling you that she is getting better, which she is, and will be back soon. But today I am going to let her give you the update herself. Take it away, Whoopi!”

Goldberg begins the video, “I am here. I am up and moving around, not as fast as I’d like to be, but I am okay. I’m not dead.” She continues, “Yes, I came very close to leaving the earth. Good news: I didn’t.”

She also says in the video that she will be returning to The View soon and added, “Ladies, I cannot wait to see y’all.”

Pneumonia, not the Oscars, kept Whoopi out

Last month, rumors circulated that Goldberg’s absence from The View was due to her preparing to host the Oscars after Kevin Hart stepped down amidst controversy. The EGOT-winner hosted the event four times since 1994, but Behar addressed those rumors on the program.

Behar said in late February, “Whoopi’s still out. She’s not feeling well, and there are all these conspiracy theories on the internet that she’s not really sick. She’s secretly preparing to host the Oscars.” Behar then set the record straight, saying, “She’s actual recovering from pneumonia. That’s what she had. It’s a serious thing.”

We’re setting the record straight: @WhoopiGoldberg is not preparing to host the #Oscars.

She’s on the mend recovering from pneumonia and we look forward to her returning to @TheView soon! https://t.co/f8u2wc159S pic.twitter.com/UmNzDOuemi

— The View (@TheView) February 20, 2019


We are happy to see Goldberg is on the mends and wish her a speedy recovery. You can watch the whole video from Goldberg below.

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Simpsons pull Michael Jackson episode; eery similarities to Leaving Neverland accusations

Fri, 03/08/2019 - 13:54

The Simpsons episode featuring guest star Michael Jackson is getting pulled from circulation. The news comes after the explosive HBO documentary Leaving Neverland alleged Jackson sexually abused two young boys in the 1990s.

In the 1991 Simpsons episode, Stark Raving Dad, the singer voiced Leon Kompowsky, a patient Homer meets in a mental institution. Leon says he is a singer, but no one believes him at first, not able to see past his history of institutionalization and his claims that he is Michael Jackson. The episode ends with Leon singing a song for Lisa’s birthday.

The song Happy Birthday, Lisa, if not the whole episode, has become a Simpsons classic, but executive producer James L. Brooks told the Wall Street Journal that pulling the episode “feels clearly the only choice to make.” He continued, “The guys I work with—where we spend our lives arguing over jokes—were of one mind on this.”

Michael Jackson subplot eerily reflects alleged behavior

In the wake of the #MeToo movement, this is the first episode that the show is publically pulling. The long-running animated series has had other guest stars who have been outed by the movement including Neil deGrasse Tyson (The Caper Chase), Dustin Hoffman (Lisa’s Substitute,) and Mario Batali (Treehouse of Horror XXVIII and The Food Wife.) However, Stark Raving Dad seems especially problematic in hindsight given the crux of the episode is Jackson’s character befriending a little boy and writing a birthday song, especially after one of the boys in Leaving Neverland recalls Jackson singing him a special song on his birthday.

It also doesn’t help that one subplot to the episode is Bart trying to convince people that Leon is Michael Jackson. When the entire town of Springfield shows up outside the Simpsons’ house, they realize the man is an imposter. So a keen eye will notice a newspaper headline that reads, “Michael Jackson hoax: Everyone mad at local boy.” Considering many, still, believe that these alleged victims are liars, it’s not a great look. ‘Everyone’ being mad at a young boy is, sadly, one of the many events the Simpsons predicted.

Simpsons Producer: We’re allowed to take out a chapter.

“This was a treasured episode,” Brooks said. “I’m against book burning of any kind,” he went on, “but this is our book, and we’re allowed to take out a chapter.” The producer revealed that they are trying to get the episode removed from all platforms including TV, streaming, and even Blu-ray or DVD box sets.

Jackson died in 2009 and maintained his innocence up until his death. In 1993, he was accused of molestation and settled out of court.  In 2003, he was charged with seven counts of child molestation from another boy and was ultimately acquitted of those charges.

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Late night round-up: Rachel Feinstein, Dwayne Perkins

Fri, 03/08/2019 - 12:18

The late night landscape featured a couple of strong stand-up performances this week. Dwayne Perkins and Rache Feinstein delivered funny sets with tight jokes about family. Neither comedian is new to TV or should be new to you. Enjoy some more stand-up from these two comedy vets in this week’s late night round-up.

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon Late Night with Seth Meyers Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Dwayne Perkins thinks a bad baby name proves the parent does not care about that baby. However, the baby in question in this joke is his neice. Yes, Perkins makes his Late Show debut with a set about how we can save children from the terrible decisions of their mothers. (But also, don’t actually steal anyone’s baby.)

Late Late Show with James Corden Jimmy Kimmel Live! Conan

Rachel Feinstein is no stranger to the Conan stage. The Last Comic Standing alum shares her new life as a married woman. Feinstein wasn’t a fan of wedding planning and wishes her mother was more helpful when it came to floral arrangements.

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How High 2 comes out on 420 Day; Mike Epps returns as Baby Powder

Thu, 03/07/2019 - 14:59

How High 2, a sequel to the classic 2001 stoner comedy, will appropriately premiere on April 20, 2019—and Mike Epps will return as the pimp-slapping Baby Powder. How High starred rappers Method Man and Redman as two underachievers who smoke their dead friend’s ashes and get into Harvard University when their friend’s ghost gives them the answers to an SAT-like test. The two will not return for the sequel.

Epps’s character Baby Powder is a cartoonish pimp who slaps people with a handful of, well, baby powder. The character proudly asserts his long pimp lineage in the film and claims he has been “pimpin’ since been pimpin’ since been pimpin.’”

A How High sequel has been in the works as far back as 2008 when Redman, whose real name is Reginald Noble, began hyping a follow-up. For years, the two stars blamed Universal Pictures, which owned the rights to the movie, for any delays. Universal’s production arm 1440 Entertainment, in partnership with MTV, officially greenlit How High 2 last June. A first pass of the script was done by the original’s screenwriter Dustin Lee Abraham, though the final script was written by Shawn Ries, Artie Johann, Alex Blagg, and Neel Shah.

Method Man, Redman will not return for How High 2

Method Man and Redman were eager to do How High 2, but confirmed they would not be involved claiming “the business wasn’t right.” Instead, Lil Yachty and D.C. Young Fly play two young “potrepreneurs” on a magical hash-fueled journey to fund their on-demand munchies delivery start-up. High Maintenance meets Silicon Valley?

 

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CONGRADS !! @lilyachty @dcyoungfly HOW HIGH 2 The Movie KEEP WINNING YOUNG BROS !!

A post shared by Official Redman IG (@redmangilla) on Oct 9, 2018 at 7:12pm PDT

The How High 2 cast is rounded out by Alyssa Goss, DeRay Davis, and Mary Lynn Rajskub. Epps is the only original cast member returning for the sequel.

MTV released the opening credits sequence, which you can watch below. You’ll have to wait until the (unofficial) National Weed Smoking Holiday to see what pimpin’ Epps gets up to in How High 2.

The post How High 2 comes out on 420 Day; Mike Epps returns as Baby Powder appeared first on LaughSpin.

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